The National Retail Federation (NRF) issued an optimistic holiday-spending forecast on Thursday, calling consumers resilient amid inflation and higher prices.
Many households will turn to savings and credit to provide a cushion in the face of those challenges, according to NRF CEO Matthew Shay, which will result in a positive holiday season.
The trade organization reported that last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5% over 2020 and forecast this year’s sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021.
Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, are expected to increase between 10% and 12%. It noted that while ecommerce will remain important, it expects households to shift back to in-store shopping and a more traditional holiday shopping experience.
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz called this holiday season cycle anything but typical. “NRF’s holiday forecast takes a number of factors into consideration, but the overall outlook is generally positive as consumer fundamentals continue to support economic activity. Despite record levels of inflation, rising interest rates and low levels of confidence, consumers have been steadfast in their spending and remain in the driver’s seat.”
He noted that the holiday shopping season had kicked off earlier this year, which he said had been a growing trend in recent years, due to shopper concern about inflation and availability of products. “Retailers are responding to that demand, as we saw several major scheduled buying events in October. While this may result in some sales being pulled forward, we expect to see continued deals and promotions throughout the remaining months.”
NRF’s holiday forecast is in line with its full-year forecast for retail sales, which predicted retail sales would grow between 6% and 8% to more than $4.86 trillion in 2022. You can find the full press release on the NRF.com website.