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Deloitte Predicts 4% Increase in U.S. Christmas Season Retail Sales

Sep 24, 2014 8:56 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Deloitte anticipates that U.S. Christmas-season retail sales for 2014 will increase by between 4 percent and 4.5 percent year on year to between $981 billion and $986 billion. Additionally, Deloitte predicts that non-store retail sales, including ecommerce and mail order, will rise between 13.5 percent and 14 percent. Deloitte defines the U.S. Christmas retail season as beginning on November 1 and ending January 31.  The expected rate of sales growth is a moderate improvement over the 2.8 percent gain in 2013, the consulting firm stated.

"Income, wage and job growth are positive indicators heading into the holiday season," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist. "Debt levels remain at historical lows and stock market gains, coupled with increasing home prices have a wealth effect on consumers, which may encourage increased spending compared with prior years. Although consumers are watching tensions unfold in the Middle East and Ukraine, the improvement in their economic situation should more than offset the foreign conflicts' impact on consumer confidence and retail sales. Despite recent events in energy-producing areas of the world, gas prices have held steady, which may also sustain consumers' spending power."

Alison Paul, the vice chairman of Deloitte, added, "While online sales continue to climb, digital customer interactions through both virtual and physical store channels present greater sales opportunities than online or mobile commerce alone. Our research indicates that 84 percent of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store.  Additionally, those shoppers convert, or make a purchase, at a 40 percent higher rate than those who do not use such devices during their shopping journey."

Given this trend, Deloitte forecasts that digital interactions will influence 50 percent, or $345 billion worth of retail stores sales this Christmas season.  This figure reflects the extent to which consumers' use of desktop and laptop computers, tablets and smartphones influence brick-and-mortar store sales.   

"Retailers should focus on the right functionality, rather than more functionality, when creating digital experiences this holiday season. Rather than offer their full ecommerce site on a mobile device, for example, retailers may be more effective by helping consumers compare prices, scan through local assortments, and navigate the store," Paul said. "Retailers that better understand how consumers make purchasing decisions, then deliver tools that support that process in a way that is consistent and complementary across online, mobile and store channels — may have the advantage this holiday season."


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Tags: Christmas season, Consumer Spending, deloitte, diamonds, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail sales
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