Sep 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Report: Bustling holiday shopping season ahead

Picture of two people holding shopping bags walking towards an Old Navy

Shoppers in San Francisco. Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

This holiday season, e-commerce sales in the U.S. will likely be 50% higher than 2019 levels. Brick and mortar retailers' sales will also be up over the same period, but by just 9%, estimates a new Deloitte report released this morning.

Why it matters: The pandemic drove businesses and consumers online — habits that are sticking around for the long term.

By the numbers: Retail sales in the U.S. are expected to reach about $1.3 trillion for the period from November to January, Deloitte says.

  • The firm estimates that e-commerce sales specifically will reach between $210 billion and $218 billion. 
  • For context, total holiday sales last year grew 5.8% from 2019 to $1.2 trillion — with e-commerce specifically growing 34.8% to $189 billion.

The strong sales forecast comes amid “already elevated retail sales” even as disposable income is expected to remain flat, Deloitte says.

  • The National Retail Federation raised its annual outlook earlier this year after observing that consumer spending has been "more resilient" than expected.

What they’re saying: During a Goldman Sachs presentation last week, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon also said he expects consumer demand to stay the same or rise this year.

  • “If I had to take over or under, I'll take a little over,” McMillon said. “I think customers, families want to celebrate Christmas. They want to have a Thanksgiving, and if this situation with the virus enables it or maybe even if it doesn't, we're going to see strong demand through the rest of this year.”
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