Deloitte: Retailers should be happy with holiday sales this year

Robust e-commerce growth is expected to help drive higher overall holiday spending.

According to Deloitte’s annual holiday forecast, holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 4.5% and 5% year-over-year in 2019. Overall, Deloitte's retail and distribution practice projects that holiday sales will exceed $1.1 trillion during the November 2019-January 2020 timeframe.

Deloitte also forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 14%–18%, year-over-year, during the 2019–2020 holiday season, compared to e-commerce sales increasing by 11.2% in the 2018-2019 holiday period. This increase is expected to result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $144 billion–$149 billion this season.

Deloitte is basing its holiday retail sales growth projections on U.S. Census Bureau figures of retail sales between November 2018 and January 2019 (seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) increasing 3.1% and totaling $1.09 trillion. E-commerce predictions are based on U.S. Census Bureau figures of e-commerce sales between November 2018 and January 2019 (seasonally adjusted and excluding gasoline stations, motor vehicles and parts dealers and food services) growing 11.2% totaling $126.4 billion.

"The projected holiday season growth is, in part, due to the current health of the labor market,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's U.S. economic forecaster. “Near record-low unemployment rates, coupled with continued monthly job creation, may encourage people to spend more during the holiday season. The economy is still growing, albeit at a slower rate. Additionally, we continue to see consumer confidence elevated, which also helps boost holiday spending."