U.S. Retailers Are Expected To Win Big This Holiday Season
The 2021 holiday season is expected to be a very good one for U.S. retailers. Digital research firm Insider Intelligence forecasts that U.S. retailers will see the highest year-over-year growth in more than 20 years as holiday retail sales reach $1.147 trillion, rising nine percent from 2020. The last time U.S. holiday sales exceeded this level of growth was in 1999, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Holiday sales growth will be led by the apparel and accessories product category, which will increase 16.2 percent overall and 25.5 percent online.
“It’s shaping up to be a record-breaking holiday season. With consumers flush with extra cash and with vaccination rates climbing, retail sales have been rising at a brisk pace throughout the year,” says Insider Intelligence Forecasting Director Cindy Liu. “While the outlook remains bright, consumers will want to start their shopping early to avoid any delays and out-of-stocks. Retailers that can overcome these supply chain constraints are in for a stellar holiday season.”
In 2021, U.S. holiday ecommerce sales will grow by 14.4 percent, reaching $211.66 billion in sales. It’s expected that ecommerce will make up 18.4 percent of this year’s U.S. holiday sales, up from 17.6 percent in 2020.
“Moderating ecommerce growth rates is inevitable given last year’s astronomical 32-percent increase during the holiday season,” says principal analyst Andrew Lipsman. “Our forecast of double-digit growth reflects ongoing strength in the channel, even though many top ecommerce retailers will face tough year-over-year comparisons. But brick and mortar will be the biggest bright spot as shoppers get back out to stores this year.”
Although ecommerce will be the faster-growing channel, the biggest growth driver this holiday season will be brick-and-mortar sales. Making up 81.6 percent of total holiday sales, brick and mortar is expected to reach $935.79 billion, up 7.9 percent from 2020—a growth rate that Inside Intelligence notes is rarely seen in this channel.
The Cyber Five promotional period—Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday—is expected to represent 18.5 percent of total U.S. ecommerce holiday sales, bringing in a total of $39.06 billion, with Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Thanksgiving ranking as the top three ecommerce spending days of the season. However, plenty of holiday shopping was pulled into early November this year as retailers kicked off early season promotions and shoppers sought to avoid shipping delays and out-of-stock products.