How will this years holiday sales compare to 2017?

By Rieva Lesonsky

Yes, I know spring has barely started, but it’s never too early for retailers and e-tailers to start thinking about holiday sales. Is it going to be a good year for holiday sales?

Well, yes and no. According to eMarketer, sales will be strong, but not quite as strong as last year. Holiday ecommerce sales are expected to increase 15.3%, says eMarketer’s new forecast. And while that sounds great (and it is), in 2017, holiday e-commerce sales grew 17.8%—and increase that the National Retail Federation (NRF) attributes to “growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence.”

Yory Wurmser at eMarketer says, “Consumer confidence in the U.S. is high. With low unemployment and rising wages, the immediate outlook for consumer spending remains solid.” The eMarketer forecast for all retail sales (online and in-store) projects growth of 3.8% in 2018, to $691.9 billion—again, good, but not as impressive as the 5.5% gain we saw last year.

But Wurmser warns that foot traffic to retail stores continues to slip, though he notes, “The fact that total retail sales still grew at a healthy rate indicates an increasing number of retailers are successfully managing the transition from primarily brick-and-mortar to omnichannel.”