Tis The Season A Look At The 2018 Holiday Shopping Season

Tis The Season A Look At The 2018 Holiday Shopping Season



With gas prices soaring, the​ value of​ the​ dollar falling and​ the​ stock market concerns of​ consumers, as​ well as​ the​ ongoing credit crunch in​ the​ U.S., what impact will these and​ other factors have on the​ 2018 holiday shopping season?

According to​ the​ Commerce Department, retail sales last month (October 2018) posted the​ weakest showing since last August, with just a​ minuscule 0.2% increase, as​ consumers continue to​ struggle with the​ slumping housing market and​ tighter credit conditions.

According to​ a​ forecast by the​ National Retail Federation in​ September of​ 2018, they predicted that sales for​ the​ 2018 holiday season will rise to​ 474.5 billion dollars, which would represent a​ 4% increase over the​ previous year. But this holiday sales increase falls below the​ ten-year average of​ 4.8% and​ would represent the​ slowest holiday sales growth rate since 2002, when sales rose 1.3%

Additionally, eMarketer a​ trusted market research firm, expects that online holiday sales should exceed 30 billion dollars (excluding online travel), which would represent an​ 18.5% increase over 2018 figures. But this would be a​ drop from last season’s growth rate of​ 25%. However, these estimates surely beat the​ low single digit growth rate that was forecast. This drop-off is​ the​ lowest growth rate in​ the​ past four years with 2003 e-commerce holiday season sales representing a​ 25.7% growth rate over the​ previous year. in​ 2004, the​ growth rate was 25.4% over 2003 and​ 2018 came in​ at​ a​ 21.5% rate over 2004 (with e-commerce holiday season sales at​ 21 billion) while sales for​ 2018 were at​ 26.2 billion and​ represented a​ 24.8% increase from 2018.

Moreover, emarketer reports that online sales in​ 2018 will be driven by the​ increased spending habits of​ existing online purchasers who have confidence in​ the​ e-commerce system and​ that they will shop at​ unfamiliar web sites to​ find what they are looking for. it​ is​ also reported that these “seasoned” shoppers will shop later in​ the​ season and​ that they have faith that the​ e-tailers will meet their delivery demands.

Furthermore, Ian Shepherdson, who is​ the​ chief U.S. analyst at​ High Frequency Economics, reports that the​ core retail sales have risen over the​ past three months, but at​ the​ slowest annualized rate in​ five years and​ predicts that this weakness will only intensify.

“We expect a​ further deterioration as​ consumers cut back in​ the​ face of​ soaring gas prices, falling stock prices and​ the​ continued disaster in​ housing,” Shepherdson explained. “The holiday season will be terrible.”

In fact, a​ survey by Deloitte & Touche reports that Milwaukee, Wisconsin shoppers plan to​ spend less than they did last year and​ that those who were polled have a​ dimmer outlook on the​ economy than they did at​ the​ same time last year. (The poll was conducted online from September 24 through October 4, 2018, with a​ total of​ 14,135 people responding to​ the​ survey across the​ U.S., which included 306 in​ the​ Milwaukee metro area) Furthermore, only 6% of​ those polled said they plan to​ spend more this holiday season, 51% reported that they plan to​ spend about the​ same amount as​ last season and​ a​ woeful 42% are planning to​ spend less this year.

Additionally, according to​ the​ same poll, some of​ the​ reasons for​ spending less this holiday season are higher energy costs (59%), higher food prices (53%), higher debt levels (34%), concerns about the​ economy (33%), their perception that the​ holidays are just too commercial and​ expensive (29%), job loss/pay reduction (20%), concerns about their employment (15%), higher mortgage payments and​ interest rates (15%), credit problems (7%), declining value of​ their home (7%), the​ aforementioned volatility of​ the​ U.S. stock market (6%), bankruptcy/foreclosure at​ 2%, while “other” factors came in​ at​ 20%. Another survey, this one from the​ American Research Group in​ Charleston, S.C. reports that 58% of​ consumers will be more price-conscious this holiday season.

So what do all these elements tell us about the​ 2018 holiday shopping season? From all indications, there is​ a​ bleak outlook for​ the​ 2018 holiday shopping season as​ consumers continue to​ struggle with out of​ control gas prices, inflation, higher food and​ energy costs, stock market uncertainty, higher debt levels, the​ housing problems, and​ the​ credit and​ lending standards being imposed by financial institutions in​ the​ wake of​ a​ serious credit crunch. Online retailers will have to​ endure the​ tighter wallets from their customers with the​ online sales growth being the​ lowest in​ five years.




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