NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the economy improves at a gradual but steady pace, retailers can expect moderate gains this holiday season, Deloitte forecast today.
"Rising home prices with steady job creation may buoy consumers' confidence in the economy and create a wealth effect," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist. "The debt ceiling and budget debate will resume this fall alongside uncertainty about the implementation of health care reform, which may cause some concern among consumers, but at a macro level, these factors are unlikely to have a significant effect on the economy and retail sales."
Deloitte's Retail & Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $963 and $967 billion[i], representing a 4 to 4.5 percent increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last season. This growth rate is on par with last year's 4.5 percent gain.
Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5 to 13 percent increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.
"We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. "Additionally, shoppers researching their purchases electronically -- via their PC, tablet or mobile phone -- are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers' store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as 'buy online and pick up in store,' as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts."
Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8 percent, or $66 billion[ii], in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers' store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.
"Retailers now realize how to engage shoppers through their mobile devices both inside and outside the store, which is having a profound impact on customer interaction, store traffic and conversion rates," continued Paul. "Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store [iii], indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that 'showrooming' and price checking could negatively affect sales."
About Deloitte's Retail & Distribution Practice
Deloitte is a leading presence in the retail and distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers. With more than 1,400 professionals, Deloitte's retail & distribution practice provides insights, services and solutions assisting retailers across all major subsectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte's retail & distribution sector, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/retail-distribution.
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[i] Deloitte is forecasting a 4 to 4.5 percent increase in 2013 holiday sales compared with 2012. Retail sales between November 2012 and January 2013 (annualized, not seasonally adjusted and excluding automotive and gasoline) totaled $925 billion according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
[ii] Mobile-influenced store sales are estimated based on Deloitte's mobile influence factor (The Dawn of Mobile Influence, June, 2012) applied to forecasted retail (store) sales for November 2013 through January 2014, based on U.S. Commerce Department retail sales data. Deloitte's analysis of mobile-influenced sales exclude motor vehicle and parts dealers, non-store retailers (which include electronic shopping and mail-order houses), and food services and drinking places.
[iii] "The Dawn of Mobile Influence," Deloitte Consulting LLP, June 2012