The National Retail Federation (NRF) said it predicts retail sales across the U.S. will rise between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent over what they were last year, a press release says.
The total will now be between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion, the release says, with automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants not included.
Last year there was a 4 percent increase, which ended up with a total of $729.1 billion in retail sales and an increase of 3.5 percent, the release says.
“We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, according to the release. “Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year.”
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said consumers had “experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago,” and said there would be a “psychological factor” spurring them to try for a “better-than-normal” holiday and drive retail.
The shutdowns and stay-at-home orders from last spring have stunted some of the growth, with some smaller retailers still struggling. That said, the NRF has observed what it calls a “V-shaped” recovery for retail sales in general, seeing growth both month-over-month and year-over-year since June. Since last year eCommerce sales are up 36.7 percent, and websites run by traditional brick-and-mortar shops are expected to be included in those numbers.
A recent Adobe Analytics study quoted by PYMNTS finds that online sales made for the holidays could exceed $200 billion this year amid the COVID-19 era. John Copeland, vice president of marketing and customer insights at Adobe, said the holiday shopping season had already started “earlier than ever” this year and the expected numbers would account for two years’ worth of growth just in one holiday season.