New York—A second, bit-more-optimistic forecast for holiday sales was released Monday by Deloitte. Citing the slowly improving U.S. economy and rising home prices, Deloitte said it expects holiday sales to rise between 4% to 4.5% to $963 billion to $967 billion from November to January (excluding cars and gasoline). It’s a growth rate on par with last year’s 4.5% gain, the company said.
“Rising home prices with steady job creation may buoy consumers’ confidence in the economy and create a wealth effect,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. “The debt ceiling and budget debate will resume this fall alongside uncertainty about the implementation of health care reform, which may cause some concern among consumers, but at a macro level, these factors are unlikely to have a significant effect on the economy and retail sales.”
Deloitte’s forecast is better than that of ShopperTrak which last week predicted November and December retail sales would rise 2.4%, less than the 3% increase ShopperTrak gave for 2012.
‘Mobile Influenced Sales’ On the Rise
While retailers of all echelons will welcome any increases, the real growth is going to be in nonstore sales, where about 75% are on the Internet (additional sales are from catalogue and TV shopping). Deloitte predicts a 12.5% to 13% rise in nonstore sales.
“We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte’s retail & distribution sector.
“Additionally, shoppers researching their purchases electronically–via their PC, tablet or mobile phone–are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers’ store, online and mobile channels.”
Online—especially mobile—influenced retail store sales will grow at a faster pace, too, accounts for about 8% of total retail sales, some $66 billion, Paul said.
Retailers have smartened up about using mobile capabilities to boost sales with services such as “buy online and pick up in store,” that help increase interaction, store traffic and conversation rates.
“Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store, indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that ‘showrooming’ and price checking could negatively affect sales,” Paul added.