Holiday Shopping and Retail: Predictions

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, holiday shopping predictions are looking strong for 2016. The National Retail Federation said it expects total holiday sales (excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales) will increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion, slightly higher than the post-recession average of 3.4% since 2009.

According to the same article, the International Council of Shopping Centers also gave a rosy projection, forecasting a 3.3% spending increase at physical stores, compared with a 2.2% gain in sales last year. Holiday shoppers in the survey said they plan to spend an average of $683.90 this year. The numbers are based on an online survey of about 2,000 adults conducted from Sept. 19-22.

“Consumers have seen steady job and income gains throughout the year, resulting in continued confidence and the greater use of credit, which bodes well for more spending throughout the holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Increased geopolitical uncertainty, the presidential election outcome and unseasonably warm weather are the main issues at play with the greatest potential to shake consumer confidence and impact shopping patterns.”

What does this mean for retail stores?

The NRF is also projecting that non-store sales, including purchases made online, will increase between 7% and 10% to as much as $117 billion. And, in the ICSC survey, shoppers often cited the ability to try on clothing, return easily, and avoid shipping fees as reasons they planned to shop in stores for the holidays.

However 85% of shoppers said they would browse online first before going to the store to shop and 59% said they planned to spend at


It’s not just the story of in-store vs. online purchasing that’s making headlines. There are other trends to watch as the holidays quickly approach. Among them are:

  • How mobile will factor into holiday shopping. A recent survey found that the number of consumers considering shopping via mobile app has grown 30% from 2015 to 2016, which could account for 80% of holiday shoppers this year.

  • In-store promotions will happen via mobile. Advances in beacon and sensor technology allow stores to target customers via their smartphones while in the store, based on their location. Watch for in-store promotions to be facilitated via mobile.

What will happen this holiday season will certainly be impacted by all of the usual suspects like weather, but we also have the election playing into the mix this year. Keep an eye on the retail landscape as things unfold. And, for more real estate news and trends, visit our blog.