The survey excludes automobiles, gasoline and restaurants. Total spending for the two months is expected to top between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year. While there is concern about the impacts of an escalating trade war, we are optimistic that the pace of economic activity will continue to increase through the end of the year.”
Last year’s spending totaled $687.87 billion, up 5.3 percent from the year before and the most significant increase since the 5.2 percent year-over-year recorded in 2010 following the end of the Great Recession.
This year’s holiday forecast is consistent with NRF’s prediction of a 2018 annual retail sales increase of at least 4.5 percent compared to 2017.
"Last year’s strong results were thanks to growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence, complemented by anticipation of tax cuts that led consumers to spend more than expected,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “With this year’s forecast, we continue to see strong momentum from consumers as they do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy. The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, tamed inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”