Retailers will see just a modest bump in holiday spending, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast. Overall 2015 sales from November to January will likely rise 3.5% to 4% percent compared to sales last year, to between $961 billion to $965 billion—less than last year's rise.
Holiday e-commerce and mail-order sales will likely rise 8.5% to 9%, according to Deloitte. And digital search and shopping will influence $.64 every dollar spent in brick-and-mortar stores, or $434 billion.
Despite significant strides in employment and signs of increased consumer confidence, flat wage growth among middle-income Americans is likely to temper sales, according to the report.
In many ways, the retail funk impacting retailers in recent years lingers, and will make this year's holiday sales a bit less merry.
And while some global economies have been stumbling, that’s not the major reason for the lukewarm report, according to Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. Deloitte’s report is a reminder that the income gap in the U.S. remains a stubborn problem with wide implications for the economy as a whole, and specifically on holiday spending.
“An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year,” Bachman said in a statement. “Those recurring improvements helped buoy sentiment and spending over the past several months. Housing and employment tend to create a more meaningful wealth effect than that of the financial markets, so the recent stock market fluctuations and instability overseas should not have a marked impact on shoppers’ holiday spending intentions. However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the ongoing effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter.”