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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.”

Go deeper

15 hours ago - Health

A second flu

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Whatever living with the virus looks like, Delta-level surges aren't considered to be sustainable for the public or the hospitals that will treat the seriously infected.

Why it matters: A major determinant of how seriously we'll take the coronavirus in the future is how many hospitalizations and deaths it's causing — and whether our health system can handle the load.

15 hours ago - Health

Long COVID: A disabling disease

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Millions of Americans are still suffering from a wide spectrum of symptoms long after they've recovered from their original coronavirus infections, and it's very unclear what the disease's trajectory is — or even how many people are affected.

What we're watching: We still don't have a good grasp on how susceptible vaccinated people are to long COVID. If the condition remains a threat even for the vaccinated, that could shape the risks people are willing to take in the future.

NYC schools prepare for staffing shortages ahead of vaccine mandate deadline

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on Sept. 13, 2021. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

Teachers and workers at New York City schools have until Monday to receive their COVID-19 vaccine before the city's mandate takes effect, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the city, ABC 7 reports.

Why it matters: About 6,000 teachers remain unvaccinated as the mandate's deadline looms, the New York Times reports.

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