Holiday sales to rise between 3.5% and 4%

Holiday sales are expected to rise between 3.5 percent and 4 percent in 2015, a decline from the 5.2 percent increase in 2014.

Online and in-store sales are expected to total between $961 and $965 billion, according to Deloitte analysts. Coming out strong, online and mail order sales will rise the most, between 8.5 percent and 9 percent.

"An improving labor market, increasing home values, and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist. "However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the lingering effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter."

The firm also predicts that digital will influence 64 percent of all 2015 holiday sales. Those using a device before or during shopping are more likely to make a purchase and spend more money. In fact, Deloitte cited that almost 80 percent of shoppers say they engage with a retailer or brand through digital channels before going to a store.

"Online sales continue to be a growth channel, but more importantly, we've passed the tipping point where online and mobile engagement play a greater role generating sales in the physical store—where more than 90 percent of retail sales occur—than in digital channels alone," said Rod Sides, vice chairman, retail and distribution sector leader, Deloitte.

U.S. consumers plan to start holiday shopping early this year, with 83 percent beginning before Cyber Monday, according to a recent Market Track survey.

Retailers are preparing for the influx of shoppers by increasing their seasonal staffing. Retailers such as Macy's and Lowe's have already begun holiday hiring.

For more:
-See this Deloitte press release

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