Oct 13, 2022
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U.S. holiday shopping sales growth to slow in 2022: Bain

Oct 13, 2022

U.S. holiday sales are expected to increase by 7.5% to $915 million in 2022, with lower consumer sentiment unable to discourage most Americans whose anticipation to spend over the busy season is higher than in 2021, according to Bain and Co.'s '2022 Holiday Shopping Outlook' report.

Bain & Co.

In addition to the 7.5% nominal growth, Bain said real sales growth for the Holidays is expected to increase by 1-3% (the nominal value is measured in terms of actual prices that exist at the time, while the real value refers to the same statistic after it has been adjusted for inflation).

Of the $915 billion in sales, some $255 billion will be made online this season, with $660 billion transacred in-store, according to the market research agency.

While consumer sentiment is lower in 2022 than the prior year, dropping to 97.6 points, from 100 in 2021, anticipated spending levels this season are up, reaching 115. 2 points, compared to 110, in 2021.

High income earners are experiencing the largest decline in consumer confidence in 2022, while the biggest increase in intent to spend is among middle income earners, Bain added.

The forecast comes on the back of a 13.2% year-over-year sale uptick in 2021—the highest growth in nearly 30 years—setting a high bar for retailers in 2022.

This coming season, Bain said retailers will have to navigate macroeconomic headwinds including rising interest rates that may see consumers minimise their buying on credit, and a 4% decrease disposable income compared to last year, while debt levels are increasing, limiting shoppers’ capacity to spend.

Meanwhile, major U.S. ports continue to see delays, and some materials remain scarce, coupled with widespread labor shortages that will also likely hamper frontline and fulfillment capacity, Bain continued.

However, there are some bright spots for businesses. The U.S. unemployment rate is hovering at pre-pandemic lows, hitting 3.7% in August, as workforce participation climbs back from last year; and seasonally unadjusted nominal hourly wages grew 4.4% year-over-year in August, making consumers feel a bit wealthier ahead of the Holiday season.

Finally, ​while inflation may deter shoppers, it will likely continue to increase nominal growth rates for most categories in the near term, Bain concluded.

The Bain Holiday report coincides with Adobe's Holiday season forecast which said online sales in November and December are expecrted to rise 2.5% to $209.7 billion, compared with an 8.6% increase a year ago, as more people also return to in-store shopping and bring forward purchases to as early as October.

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