Report: Holiday Sales To Slow In 2015

Date: September 24, 2015

Deloitte Projects Sales Growth Down From 2014; Online Sales To Continue Faster Growth Than Physical Stores

According to a new Deloitte report on projections for 2015 holiday retail sales in the US, this year’s holiday season will likely see less enthusiasm from consumers than in 2014. The report suggests there will be 3.5% to 4% sales growth in holiday 2015 compared to 5.2% sales growth in 2014. Meanwhile, online sales growth will be stronger, with an 8.5% to 9% increase. Total US retail sales from November to January are expected to be between $961 billion and $965 billion. The Washington Post notes that according to Deloitte retail practice leader Rod Sides, although more people are employed compared to last year, and gas prices continue to be low, shoppers appear not to think “they’ve got disposable income to burn.” He explained, “From a retail perspective, the first couple quarters of the year were pretty tough, and we’re just starting to see that turn the corner. So I think what happens is there’s a little bit of a lingering effect in terms of how people are feeling about their levels of investment, about how much they can go spend.” Additionally, he predicts that promotions for the holiday season will begin earlier in 2015 and remain “as robust as ever.” He noted, “We learned our lesson a couple of years ago in that we had some really bad weather just before the holidays. So I think that’s also what pushed folks to driving promotions earlier in the cycle.” Fortune notes that when it comes to online sales, Sides projected, “Online sales continue to be a growth channel, but more importantly, we’ve passed the tipping point where online and mobile engagement play a greater role generating sales in the physical store — where more than 90% of retail sales occur — than in digital channels alone.” Deloitte projects research online as well as online discounts “will influence two-thirds of every dollar spent in brick-and-mortar stores” during the holidays.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The holiday season is crucial for small businesses across the US, as it’s a prime time to attract new customers as well as lure existing customers back. Projections of 2015 holiday sales could affect a number of decisions small business owners face – how many hours to employ workers, whether to hire additional seasonal staff, or what types of promotions to run to drive sales, for example. Slightly weaker sales growth expectations are worrisome, though overall sales growth means small businesses can rest easier knowing they will continue to benefit from a stronger economy through the end of the year.

Additional Reading

MarketWatch also notes Deloitte’s holiday retail forecast.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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