Deloitte Forecast Predicts Robust Holiday Spending

Leading accounting firm Deloitte is betting on a healthy holiday season for U.S. retailers.

The company released its annual forecast for holiday spending yesterday, which estimates that retailers will see an increase in consumer spending of 4 to 4.5 percent this year over 2016’s shopping season.

Deloitte expects total holiday sales (seasonally adjusted and excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) to reach $1.04 to $1.05 trillion between November and January.

The firm also forecasts an 18 to 21 percent increase in e-commerce sales in 2017 compared with 2016, with e-commerce sales reaching $111 to $114 billion during the 2017 holiday season.

“The projected uptick in holiday sales ties to four primary factors affecting consumer spending, starting with anticipated strong personal income growth,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist, in the report. “Last year, disposable personal income grew 2 percent over the year to the holiday period, and we may see that rise to a range of 3.8 to 4.2 percent this season.”

But there are uncertainties on the horizon, he says, such as an increase in the savings rate that “would cause spending to expand more slowly,” and the threat of a government debt ceiling crisis, “which has loomed over prior holiday seasons” that could potentially cut employment and income growth.

Still, overall he’s bullish about consumer spending this holiday and adds, “Consumer confidence remains elevated, the labor market is strong, and the personal savings rate should remain stable at its current low level.”

(Top: South Coast Plaza in Southern California around the holidays, courtesy of South Coast Plaza)

JCK Magazine Editor