November 5, 2018

Holiday Sales & Spending Forecast

Right now, regardless of what happens in US politics tomorrow, most experts are anticipating a healthy holiday sales season. However, the certainty about those strong sales continuing into 2019 is much less clear.

Things like strong consumer confidence, low unemployment, and increased disposable income from 2017 tax cuts, have experts talking of an average of 4% increase in dollar value of holiday sales over last year. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American is expected to spend a total of $1007 this year on holiday-related merchandise with historically about 14% of that being devoted to food and candy items (what’s unclear is whether food items that are given as gifts are included in that 14% or if they are grouped into the larger ‘gift’ category).

So it’s all looking good – right? While experts are optimistic, there appear to be some uncertainties with regards to the economy moving forward into 2019 and that may ultimately impact how much consumers spend during the holidays as well as into 2019. Concerns include how potential tariffs may impact both consumers’ job security as well as the cost they pay for goods as well as political shakeout from the 2018 midterm elections. Just last week, Apple announced its sales predictions for the holidays at less than 5% growth over last year and that caused the stock to dip (to be fair, Apple’s forecast for December is in the $89-$93B range so it doesn’t appear that consumers plan to stop spending on pricey electronics).

It will be interesting to watch how holiday sales pan out overall and whether that trend – be it good or bad – continues into the new year.

Related Articles: