US Insights

Happy holidays for retailers?

Doug Hermanson

Principal Economist

Retail 08.31.2016 / 14:00

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Kantar Retail is expecting 'modestly improved' holiday growth in 2016

Kantar Retail has already been in their holiday workshop putting together our 2016 holiday forecast. Too soon? Not for many of our retailer and supplier clients that are already in the late stages of planning for the biggest selling season of the year.

Kantar Retail expect retail sales growth in the Q4 holiday quarter will improve to 3.8% after posting 3.4% growth last holiday quarter. This core metric excludes the automobile, gasoline station, and food service channels.

Economic conditions suggest US shoppers should be more active this holiday. Job growth at the national level will likely keep spending confidence firm among most households, if ongoing political and global disruptions are kept at arm’s length from households’ financial health. Income growth continues to be underwhelming, but lower food and fuel prices will cushion shoppers’ budgets. Most of that increased shopping activity will be focused online, while holiday demand at brick-and-mortar retail will grow at a more moderate pace. Aggregate brick-and-mortar growth will be a modest 2.0%, the same as last year. Excluding the drugstore and supermarket channels, growth will be 1.9%. Online will post almost 16% growth, its strongest pace since the 2011 holiday. But the scale of online will be felt at a record level. Year-over-year added online sales will surpass all of the sales added at brick-and-mortar venues this holiday: the first time this has occurred in the holiday quarter.

There is still reason for brick-and-mortar retailers to be optimistic this year. While there will be plenty of deal seeking this holiday, shoppers have indicated in the past year that they are inching away from the strong price focus that largely defined their shopping habits early in the economic recovery. This will likely open the door wider for retailers that are offering the exclusive products and elevated in-store experience shoppers will appreciate even more during the holiday.

Source: Kantar Retail

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