U.S. Holiday Sales to Cross $1 Trillion

Despite the fact that, this year, there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018, analysts at eMarketer forecast that total U.S. holiday retail sales will climb 3.8% year-over-year to $1.008 trillion for 2019 – the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season. Last year saw growth at about 2.5%.

Cyber Monday is once again expected to be the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, with a total that could surpass $10 billion, said the research firm. Black Friday, Thanksgiving and “Cyber Tuesday” should also rank among the leading days for the season.

“Holiday spending growth will be driven by a consumer economy that remains robust, due to low unemployment, rising wages, a strong stock market and healthy consumer confidence,” eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman said. “At the same time, rising tariffs, trade war tensions, stock market volatility and dampening consumer sentiment all weigh on the season’s growth potential. A shortened calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas also presents a challenge.”

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Brick-and-mortar remains dominant with in-store sales for the 2019 holiday season expected to increase by 2.5% to $872.25 billion. Brick-and-mortar still represents the majority (86.6%) of holiday sales, but its share has steadily declined.

Ecommerce sales this holiday season will increase 13.2% to $135.35 billion. That puts ecommerce at 13.4% of all holiday retail sales this year.

“The largest online and big-box retailers appear well positioned for the 2019 holiday season,” Lipsman said. “With fast shipping at a premium during the compressed holiday season, retailers like Amazon have an advantage for online deliveries, while those with advanced click-and-collect operations like Walmart, Target and Best Buy will also get a leg up on the competition.”

While m-commerce (sales via smartphones and tablets) will drive just 6.4% of total holiday retail sales, it will be the fastest-growing shopping channel. eMarketer estimate m-commerce will grow 25.1%, and it will represent 47.5% of holiday ecommerce sales this year.