Digital, Discounts Hold Holiday Retail Key

That’s not jingle bells you’re hearing, but the sound of cash registers. Holiday retail forecasts are out, and the consensus is shoppers are ready to spend.

Here are the key takeaways from:

The National Retail Federation:
•    Shoppers are expected to spend 4.1 percent more during November and December than they did during the same months in 2013. 2014 spending is expected to total $616.9 billion.
•    More shoppers are going online: Digital sales during the 2014 holiday months is projected to grow by as much as 11 percent to $105 billon, compared with the same time period in 2013.
•    Retailers will hire between 725,000-800,000 workers.

Black Friday is a big draw.
•    Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to shop the day after Thanksgiving.
•    Perceptions are changing: Fewer shoppers see stores opening on Thanksgiving as a negative reason to shop at a store.

Discount stores are still key to the season.
•    Almost three-quarters of consumers are heading to discount retailers to do part of their shopping.
•    Department stores should see an uptick in customers: About half of respondents said they’d be going to them for some of their shopping.

Don’t ignore digital.

•    Around 58 percent of shoppers are going online to do all their shopping this year.   
•    More than half of consumers plan to spend at least 50 percent of their shopping budget online.
•    ‘Free shipping’ is the No. 1 online buying incentive.

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