It’s shaping up to be a merry Christmas, with consulting firm Deloitte forecasting a 4–4.5 percent retail sales gain this holiday, which would mark it as one of the best holiday seasons in years.
The firm’s prediction represents an improvement over last year’s 2.8 percent gain.
In a statement, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist Daniel Bachman noted the economy is enjoying income, wage, and job growth; historically low debt levels; stock market gains; increasing home prices; and steady gas prices. Consumers are nervous about international instability, Bachman said, but the other positive fundamentals should outweigh that.
As is now standard, online sales are poised to outperform the rest of retail, with Deloitte forecasting a 13.5–14 percent increase in online and mail-order sales.
“Retailers should focus on the right functionality, rather than more functionality, when creating digital experiences this holiday season,” said Alison Kenney Paul, vice chairman of the Deloitte retail and distribution sector, in a statement. “Retailers who 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.”