ICSC predicts 3% holiday sales growth

Holiday spending will be higher and over a longer period of time in 2015.

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers' (ICSC) 2015 Consumer Forecast, 90 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning holiday purchases this season, up from 82 percent in 2014, and 80 percent of those shoppers plan to spend the same or more than last year.

Overall, ICSC is forecasting a 3.3 percent growth in retail sales over November and December compared with the same period last year. The pace would be significantly ahead of the average 10-year holiday sales growth of 1.8 percent. Specifically dealing with online shopping, the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will rise between 6 and 8 percent, totaling as much as $105 billion.

Up from $677 in 2014, holiday shoppers will spend $702 on average this season, including $575 on gifts and $127 on decorations and other holiday-related items.

For shoppers with an income over $100,000, the average spend for the season will be $1,062. Those with an income less than $35,000 will spend an average of $500.

"With gas prices and unemployment down, and housing prices up, holiday shoppers are heading into the season with increased confidence in their spending power," said Jesse Tron, ICSC spokesperson. "While certain headwinds exist, such as uncertainty in global financial markets and minimal wage growth in the U.S., the positive macroeconomic trends are likely to win out and propel retail sales throughout the holiday season.

"As a result, it appears to be shaping up as a solid season for retailers, and if ICSC's forecast holds, one that would better the average of the previous ten seasons by 1.5 percentage points."

U.S. holiday shoppers will buy gift cards, 54 percent; electronic devices, 51 percent; apparel and footwear, 49 percent; toys and games, 42 percent; and food and beverages, 34 percent.

Two-thirds of U.S. shoppers will start purchasing gifts before Thanksgiving Day, but only 7 percent expect to be done by Thanksgiving. As many as 65 percent are planning to have their holiday shopping done by Dec. 15. According to data last month from Deloitte, 83 percent of consumers will start purchasing what's on their holiday lists before Cyber Monday.

Ninety-five percent of shoppers plan to make a brick-and-mortar purchase this year. In addition, 74 percent of adults visiting shopping centers during the holiday season will do something other than shop, such as participate in a charitable activity or dine at a restaurant.

For more:
-See this ICSC press release

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