“Last year, there were far more unknowns,” Jackie Fernandez, a partner at Deloitte tells Marketing Daily. “There was the election, and Hurricane Sandy --the planets were aligned for a really dismal holiday season. And yet we walked away with a 4 to 4.5% gain. So when I look at this year's forecast and another increase in that range, it seems really reasonable.”
Improvements in real estate and the stock market have consumers feeling more secure, she says, with consumer confidence strengthening as a result. It will also help retailers that consumers are using their mobile devices and online shopping tools more enthusiastically.
Deloitte predicts that mobile-influenced retail store sales will amount to 8%, or $66 billion, of retail store sales this holiday. And it expects non-store sales to account for about 13% of the total.
It also says that it does not expect consumer concerns around health care reform implementation and the debt ceiling debate to dampen holiday spirits.
Still, she says, the survey—the firm's 28th annual holiday forecast, and based on responses from 5,000 adults—continues to show a widening gap between more and less affluent consumers. “On the lower end of the demographic scale, people are struggling with payroll taxes, cost-of-living increases and salaries that haven’t kept up. They continue to be very bargain-focused,” she says. “Affluent shoppers did pull back for a few years, but they've been coming back, and we expect that to continue.”