Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 7 percent and 9 percent in 2021, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. Overall, Deloitte’s retail and distribution practice projects that holiday sales will total $1.28 trillion to $1.3 trillion during the November to January timeframe. Deloitte also forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 11 percent to 15 percent, year-over-year, during the 2021-2022 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $210 billion and $218 billion this season. The 2021 forecast projects a strong growth rate amid already elevated retail sales and growth in disposable personal income that's likely to remain flat heading into the season.
Total Retail's Take: While retail sales are forecast to increase rather significantly this coming holiday season, a positive for retailers heading into the critical fourth quarter, the question remains if retailers and brands will be able to fulfill this rising demand under intense time constraints — and do so profitably given rising air and freight costs. Furthermore, ports are congested at levels rarely seen before, hampering retailers' efforts to get products into the hands of customers. And even when goods do it make to retailers' distribution centers and warehouses, companies are dealing with labor shortages that are slowing the final distribution of orders to increasingly impatient customers. Therefore, while increased sales are a good problem to have, retailers have plenty of supply chain issues to sort out to make the 2021 holiday season truly a success.