Will a Longer Holiday Selling Season Help Retailers Crack $1 Trillion in Sales?

Consumers are seeing fatter paychecks and feeling good about their economic prospects. Plus, it’s a job seeker’s market as employers scramble to fill critical positions both seasonal and permanent — all of which add up to what could be a record-breaking holiday season, per eMarketer.

But one key variable could be the icing on the cake that helps holiday sales break the $1 trillion threshold for the first time: the all-important calendar of available shopping days. This year holds a best-case scenario for retailers online and off; shoppers have 32 days — the most possible in any given year — starting on Black Friday and ending Christmas Eve to load up on gifts to make the season merry for stores and online sellers alike. eMarketer expects retail sales generated for the total holiday shopping period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 to jump 5.8 percent to $1.002 trillion.

For comparison, retailers last year rang up north of $947 billion during the holidays, with growth of 5.2 percent above the year prior. eMarketer said 2018’s holiday sales growth is projected to be the strongest posted in seven years.

Though the holiday narrative for years has focused on the growth of online shopping, as well as mobile’s role in stealing traffic and driving sales, eMarketer said it believes brick-and-mortar stores stand to shine this season — in line with similar findings from Adobe indicating retailers operating across channels will resonate most with customers who appreciate the ability to interact with products in-store but want the convenience of transacting online.

That said, many customers simply prefer to stay home, evade the crowds and hassles of parking, and avoid the disappointment that comes with shelves stripped clean of must-have holiday bargains — not to mention the travails of navigating frigid temperatures and inclement weather, often with children in tow. These consumers who opt for clicks over bricks will help power the season’s e-commerce sales to an expected $123.73 billion, which translates to 16.6 percent growth over the year-ago period, eMarketer said.

Online shopping will account for 12.3 percent of total retail sales during the holiday season, a figure data experts said continues to grow considerably each year.

Editor’s Note: This story was reported by FN’s sister magazine Sourcing Journal. For more, visit Sourcingjournal.com.

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