U.S. Holiday Spending To Cross The Trillion-Dollar Mark This Year

Despite potential headwinds, including economic uncertainty and a shorter shopping timeframe—this year there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas—U.S. shoppers’ holiday spending is expected to grow 3.8 percent this year to $1.008 trillion. Not only is this the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season, but this year’s growth rate, from digital economy research firm eMarketer, is outpacing 2018’s 2.4-percent increase.

“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,” says Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst. “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.”

eMarketer expects Cyber Monday on December 2 to be the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, with sales totaling $10 billion. Brick-and-mortar will remain dominant, with in-store sales for the 2019 holiday season increasing by 2.5 percent to $872.25 billion. Brick-and-mortar still represents the majority of holiday sales, at 86.6 percent, but its share has steadily declined. Ecommerce sales this holiday season will increase 13.2 percent to $135.35 billion, representing 13.4 percent of all holiday retail sales this year, a figure that has been growing steadily. “Mcommerce,” sales via smartphones and tablets, are expected to drive just 6.4 percent of holiday retail sales, but it will be the fastest-growing shopping channel. eMarketer forecasts it will grow 25.1 percent this year.

“The largest online and big-box retailers appear well positioned for the 2019 holiday season,” Lipsman adds. “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.”

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