The leaves have fallen and the air is getting crisp as we head into a holiday season predicted to shatter previous records. During the months of November and December, taxable retail sales are expected to grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over the 2020 season.
So, what’s impacting consumer behavior? Consumers are the drivers, and they are well-positioned as incomes have continued to rise and savings rates are still strong today. Due to the holiday disruptions over the past 20 months, Pent-up demand is driving shoppers to prioritize gifts for family and friends. Customers are also planning to shop earlier this year, with 49% of holiday shoppers saying they have already begun shopping at the end of October.
Around half of the early shoppers say they simply want to avoid last-minute shopping, while 36% don’t want to miss out on essential holiday items.
Retailers are making significant investments by working with critical links at ports and shipping and transportation companies – responsible for getting products to the warehouse for last-mile delivery. Retail companies are expected to hire thousands of seasonal workers in Washington state as they prepare to meet this heightened consumer demand.
Weather conditions have traditionally factored into holiday sales, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a high likelihood of a La Nina pattern, bringing cooler and wetter weather in the north. This phenomenon has often been associated with more robust retail sales and most certainly could be a factor for the 2021 holiday season.