Lower unemployment, lower food and gas prices, higher wages and a longer selling season should make for a happy holiday, writes Managing Director Deborah Weinswig
November 3, 2016
NEW YORK – Lower unemployment, wage gains and more affordable food and fuel prices should make for a healthy U.S. holiday shopping season, with year-over-year sales increasing 3 percent to 4 percent, predicts “US Holiday Outlook 2016: Prospects for a Better Season,” a new report from international think tank Fung Global Retail & Technology.
This forecast compares with a 3.2 percent year-over-year increase in 2015, and a 2.5 percent average annual increase over the last 10 years, writes Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology.
“The improving macro backdrop points to consumers increasing their spending this holiday season,” Weinswig observes.
In September, the unemployment rate in the U.S. stood at 5 percent, down 10 basis points from the same month a year ago, and gas prices per gallon were approximately 5 percent lower than in 2015. Meanwhile, home prices are rising, and food costs are at 2009/2010 levels. Also, there are 31 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year compared with 29 in 2015, and December temperatures are expected to be colder than last year’s record warmth, especially in the eastern half of the country. This should help boost overall sales, and winter categories in particular. But this year’s calendar also has a quirk related to “Super Saturday,” the Saturday before Christmas, which has at times topped Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year.
“Due to Christmas being on a Sunday this year, Super Saturday will actually occur the day before Christmas, which is also the day that Chanukah begins this year,” Weinswig writes. “Many consumers are even more likely to make last-minute gift purchases in stores that day rather than online.”
Technology, too, will remain a popular gift category this year, including laptops, televisions, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles, fitness bands, wireless headphones and smart home devices. Sought-after toys will include Fisher-Price’s Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, the Cozmo robot and items related to the movie releases of “Trolls,” “Moana” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
However, some concerns persist. Comparable for toys remain tough, as the category saw strong sales last year thanks to the revival of the “Star Wars” film franchise. Also, many consumers, especially Millennials, are focusing much of their discretionary spending on experiences.
The report, found here, is the latest in a series of in-depth analyses of retail and other business opportunities around the world. Previous reports issued by Fung Global Retail & Technology include “UK Retail Overview: Characteristics, Developments and Prospects,” “US Furniture Market 2016: Preferences and Trends” and “2016 Singles’ Day Preview: Aiming High as Alibaba Pairs Shopping with Entertainment and Social Media.” Fung Global Retail & Technology’s reports and analyses can be found at www.FungGlobalRetailTech.com and www.deborahweinswig.com. Subscribe here to Deborah Weinswig’s daily news and analysis on retail, fashion and technology.
About Fung Global Retail & Technology
Fung Global Retail & Technology is a think tank whose research team, based in New York, London and Hong Kong, follows emerging retail and tech trends, specializing in the ways retail and technology intersect, and in building collaborative communities.
The team, led by Deborah Weinswig, former top Wall Street and retail tech analyst and startup advisor, publishes ongoing thematic and global market research on topics such as the Internet of Things, digital payments, omni-channel retail, luxury and fashion trends and disruptive technologies.
More information can be found at www.FungGlobalRetailTech.com.