Holiday cash registers will be ringing up sales. Are you ready?

Good news for the nation’s retailers: The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts 2019 holiday retail sales (in November and December) will grow between 3.8% and 4.2% over last year, landing between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.

Online and other non-store sales are expected to lead the growth, with an increase between 11% and 14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year. (These numbers are included in the overall total.)

However, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay cautions, “There has clearly been a slowdown [in the U.S. economy} brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric.” While consumers are in good financial shape, Shay says, “confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”

Despite this uncertainty and “significant economic unease,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says, “current economic data shows we can expect a much stronger holiday season than last year.”

The NRF adds, “The effect of tariffs on holiday spending—either directly or through consumer confidence—remains to be seen. Nevertheless, 79% of consumers the NRF survey surveyed last month were concerned about tariffs causing prices to rise, potentially affecting their shopping.”

How can you grab your share of holiday spending?

  • Make sure your website is mobile ready—according to an OpenX/Harris Poll report, 20% of all online holiday purchases will take place on mobile devices this year, while 29% will take place on desktop or laptop computers and 4% on voice-activated smart speakers.
  • Focus your marketing efforts on millennials. The OpenX/Harris survey shows millennials have bigger budgets than consumers in other demographics and plan to spend more than they did last year.

Shopping stock photo by Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock