What is NRF’s prediction for holiday sales growth this year? NRF is projecting 2012 holiday sales to rise 4.1% from 2011.
If NRF’s estimate is correct, holiday sales this year would be $586.1 billion. How much did holiday sales change last year?
In 2011, holiday sales increased 5.6% to $563 billion, which was only slightly more than the 5.5% increase in 2010. On average, holiday sales have increased 3.5% per year for the last 10 years. This includes expectations for 2012. Why are these numbers different than what you have previously reported?
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce revised the last several years of retail sales data. Additionally, NRF now includes “auto parts, accessories and tire stores” and “non-store” retail sales figures in its economic analysis and calculations. This change—impacting all future NRF retail sales figures and forecasts, including the 2012 holiday forecast—seeks to be more representative of the retail industry’s diversity, and better reflect the growth and economic influence of specific retail sectors such as auto parts, e-commerce and non-store sales. What percentage of annual sales do the holidays represent?
For some retailers, the holiday season can represent anywhere between 20–40% of annual sales. In 2011, holiday sales represented 19.5% of total retail industry sales. Will NRF change its holiday forecast throughout the course of the holiday season?
While NRF reserves the right to change its holiday forecast at any time, NRF rarely revises its forecast. In 2011, NRF raised its forecast mid-season when sales were better than expected. In 2001, NRF lowered its forecast. NRF has no plans to change its holiday forecast for 2012. How do NRF’s surveys differ from its forecast?
NRF’s holiday forecast is based on an economic model using indicators like housing data, unemployment and previous monthly retail sales reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce. NRF’s holiday surveys, conducted by BIGinsight, are completed by thousands of Americans with a very low margin of error. These surveys provide a snapshot of what consumers say they plan to do for the holiday season. This is the eleventh holiday season that NRF has partnered with BIGinsight to provide holiday data, making it possible to identify year-over-year trends. How many extra jobs does the retail industry create during the holiday season?
This year, NRF estimates that retailers will hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal employees, compared to the 607,500 they hired last holiday season and more than the 563,000 they hired in 2010. For historical holiday hiring information, see page 6. What does NRF classify as the “winter holidays”?
NRF tallies total retail industry sales from November and December—61 days total—to determine holiday sales. Holidays during this period include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This year there are 33 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, three more than last year. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, consumers have an extra weekend to wrap up their shopping. How does NRF define “retail industry sales”?
Retail industry sales include most traditional retail sales categories such as discount stores, department stores, grocers, non-store, and specialty stores and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations and restaurants. What is Shop.org’s prediction for online holiday sales growth this year?
For the first time ever, Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, has announced an online holiday sales forecast. Shop.org is projecting online sales this holiday season to increase by 12%. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011 online holiday sales grew 15%. What metrics are used to calculate Shop.org’s online holiday forecast?
Shop.org’s estimates are based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Census, The Conference Board, and NRF’s own calculations. These estimates include personal income and spending, consumer credit, consumer confidence, and previous monthly retail reports. What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the online retail equivalent to Black Friday. The term was coined in 2005 by Shop.org based on a clear consumer trend that retailers began to recognize in 2003 and 2004. At the time, retailers noticed that many consumers, who were too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend or did not find what they were looking for, shopped online that Monday from home or work to find bargains. Why are many retailers putting holiday merchandise on the shelves so early?
Each year, about 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. While most retailers do not begin holiday advertising until at least October or November, they recognize that many people like the idea of shopping early to spread out spending over a longer period of time. As a result, many retailers are putting holiday merchandise on the shelves in September—specifically decorations and greeting cards, which many people buy months in advance. Is Black Friday the busiest shopping day of the year?
NRF does not monitor or track sales day by day. However, ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the U.S., forecasted that Black Friday would remain the number one performing day in 2011, followed by Saturday, December 17 and then Friday, December 23. Why have retailers changed their return policies?
Some retailers make return policies more lenient during the holiday season, understanding that there may be a lag time between when a gift is purchased and received. However, many retailers have changed their return policies to account for an increase in return fraud. Last year, retailers estimated they would lose $3.5 billion due to return fraud during the holiday season, according to NRF’s Return Fraud survey. Are traditional retailers hurt when people shop online?
Most retailers have no preference when it comes to whether customers shop in stores or online, or even on their smartphones—as long as they shop. Retailers know their customers like to shop in a variety of ways and they have adapted to ensure customers can do their shopping anytime, anywhere.