Sep 21, 2016
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U.S holiday sales to increase at slowest rate in 10 years

Sep 21, 2016

A new research report predicts that U.S. retail sales in the winter holiday season - November and December, 2016 - will rise by just 1.3% over 2015 to total $692 billion, the slowest growth rate since 2006. 

U.S. holiday season sales could be weakest in 10 years - Mintel

“While retail sales are projected to increase, we’re seeing a significant slowdown compared to years past, driven, in part, by consumer concerns surrounding the 2016 US presidential election and global economic concerns. Thus, estimates remain optimistic, but conservative,” said Diana Smith, associate director, retail and apparel at Mintel, the research company which authored the report.

Much of the increase in sales this holiday season will be fuelled by online and non store shopping. Some 74% of shoppers plan to shop online this year compared to 69% in 2015, said the report. Millennials will drive online sales with 88% expected to do half of their shopping online, while 37% are forecast to buy all their holiday gifts online.

Continuing a trend from years past, the holidays is no longer confined to just November and December, said Mintel. 

Nearly half (46%) of consumers prefer to start their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving and a majority (53%) report shopping for gifts year-round. This compares to 46% of consumers who said that they feel like they’re always making a lot of last minute purchases, said researchers.

Moreover, 78% of consumers said that it is important to stay within their predetermined budget, while 86% said that finding the right gift is also critical. Around 57% Americans plan to take advantage of holiday deals to treat themselves, said the report.

Finally, free shipping (63%) and fast delivery (38%) continued to rank among the top priorities for online shoppers.

"With the continuous rise of online shopping as a preferred method during the holiday season, it’s important for retailers to ensure they have the delivery mechanisms in place to handle increased demand," added Smith.

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