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Holiday Spending Seen Reaching Record Levels

2023 shopping total in line with pre-pandemic increases: NRF

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Holiday Spending Seen Reaching Record Levels
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sculpies/iStock.com

Holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December, growing between 3-4% percent over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion, a widely watched barometer from the National Retail Federation predicts.

“It is not surprising to see holiday sales growth returning to pre-pandemic levels,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Overall household finances remain in good shape and will continue to support the consumer’s ability to spend.”

Despite a slower growth rate compared with the past three years, when trillions of dollars of stimulus led to unprecedented rates of retail spending during the pandemic, this year’s holiday spending is consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6 percent from 2010 to 2019.

Online shopping has been one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior from the Covid-19 pandemic. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, are expected to increase between 7-9 percent, to a total of between $273.7 billion and $278.8 billion. That figure is up from $255.8 billion last year.

“Consumers remain in the driver’s seat, and are resilient despite headwinds of inflation, higher gas prices, stringent credit conditions and elevated interest rates,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “We expect spending to continue through the end of the year on a range of items and experiences, but at a slower pace.”

NRF’s holiday forecast is based on economic modeling that considers a variety of indicators including employment, wages, consumer confidence, disposable income, consumer credit and previous retail sales.

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