NRF Forecasts Holiday Sales to Grow up to 5.2 percent Despite COVID 19 Pandemic

by Alex Tostado

Washington, D.C. — Retail consumers have shown excitement for holiday shopping this year, says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF). Because of the challenges of this year, Shay and the NRF believe people will buy gifts that may “lift the spirits of family and friends.” The NRF has forecasted U.S. holiday sales to grow between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent compared to 2019. The expected growth would mean a range between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion in sales for the season, which NRF defines as November and December. NRF says the average year-over-year growth for the past five holiday seasons has been 3.5 percent.

Online and non-store sales are expected to jump between 20 and 30 percent, according to the NRF, for a total of $202.5 billion to $218.4 billion. Holiday sales in 2019 totaled $168.7 billion. Due to pandemic-related reasons, large swaths of people have not been shopping in-person this year, a trend the NRF expects to see continue through December.

“We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” says Shay. “We expect a strong finish to the holiday season and will continue to work with municipal and state officials to keep retailers open and the economy moving forward at this critical time.”

Washington, D.C.-based NRF excludes automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants from its forecast.

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