A Positive Outlook for the Holiday Shopping Season

By at 17 November, 2019, 1:07 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

The holiday shopping season is a critical time for the health of so many businesses – big and small. There’s reason for some holiday cheer based on a couple of early takes on the 2019 Christmas shopping season.

First, on November 1, Gallup reported:

“Gallup’s initial read on Americans’ 2019 holiday spending plans, conducted Oct. 1-13, suggests a good season ahead for U.S. retailers. Consumers anticipate spending an average $942 on Christmas gifts this year, up from $885 at the same time in 2018 and the highest October estimate in Gallup trending of this measure.”

The Gallup report added:

“Along with consumers’ record-high average spending estimate, the new poll finds 37% of Americans saying they will spend $1,000 or more on gifts. This is up from 33% last October and is also the highest in Gallup’s trend. Another 21% will spend between $500 and $999; and 27% will spend between $100 and $499, while 3% will spend less than $100.”

Second, the National Retail Federation’s survey and outlook also pointed to solid gains over last year. The NRF reported:

“Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.”

This aligns with the NRF’s forecast:

“The National Retail Federation today said it expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years.”

While considering all of this data, keep in mind that the retail sector is overwhelmingly populated by small businesses. For example, according to the latest Census Bureau, 90.9 percent of employer firms in the retail trade sector have fewer than 20 employees, and 98.4 percent fewer than 100 employees.

Make no mistake, the forecasts of strong retail sales gains for the Christmas holiday shopping season rank as good news for small businesses.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


News and Media Releases