Holiday Retail Sales to Hit $738 Billion


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October has just begun, and for many retail outlets that means dragging out the holiday decorations. With the economy slowly rebounding over the past five years, experts are now expecting to see a marginal increase in sales this holiday shopping season.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) this week predicted a 4% year-over-year increase in holiday spending during November and December of this year. That increase will allow total holiday spending in the U.S. to reach an estimated $738 billion.

“Overall retail holiday sales growth looks healthy for 2013,” said Shawn DuBravac chief economist at CEA. “However, significant economic risks remain unresolved, and these could still negatively impact how much consumers decide to spend this holiday season.”

Tech sales have been forecasted to be a major part of holiday spending with new tablets and video games systems coming in November. Spending on apparel, furniture, and "general merchandise" is predicted by CEA to rise by just 2.7% this holiday season.

Online sales will be particularly important this year, as will sales on mobile devices . Online sales are expected to hit a record $57 billion this holiday season, making up over 18% of all holiday retail sales. Mobile purchases are expected to grow by 35% year-over-year to a record $8 billion in sales.

“The online retail channel will dictate holiday sales this season,” said DuBravac. “Retailers and manufacturers should take note of shifting shopping habits as consumers increasingly turn online and to their mobile devices to make purchases.”