Holiday 2013 Shopping Season Looking Strong

The upcoming holiday shopping season is looking strong, according to two leading holiday forecasts.

Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb 4–4.5 percent in 2013. That would be on par with last year’s 4.5 percent gain, Deloitte says.

Deloitte senior U.S. economist ­Daniel Bachman said in a statement that ­“rising home prices with steady job ­creation may buoy consumers’ confidence in the economy.”

Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5–13 percent increase in nonstore sales—with nearly three-quarters of those sales coming from online and the rest coming from catalogs and ­interactive TV.

Chicago-based ShopperTrak, a provider of shopper analytics, thinks sales will increase by a more modest 2.4 percent.

“It’s the fourth year in a row we have growth in holiday sales, but each year that growth has been slowing,” says ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Still, you are growing on top of a higher number. Last year was the all-time champ and this year should be a new reigning champion. And since we are in a low inflationary period, most of that will come from improved sales.”

Also contrary to Deloitte, Martin says he expects some of the ­e-commerce sector’s momentum to slow this year, with sales rising only by single ­digits—as opposed to the double-digit increases that sector has been posting regularly for the past few years.

He adds that the holiday will come earlier this year (consider that retailers like Kmart already have begun holiday promotions), and predicts that trend will be helped by a shortened holiday season—25 days compared with 31 last year, as well as one less holiday ­weekend. Hanukkah also starts earlier than usual this year, the day after Thanksgiving.