Deloitte Predicts Moderate Holiday 2016 Growth

Deloitte expects this year's holiday sales to increase only modestly.

Although retailers and many analysts might be trumpeting this holiday shopping season as a potentially record-breaking one, a new study by Deloitte says not so fast.

Deloitte is predicting a modest rise in holiday sales, both in stores and online, with an increase of only about 3.6–4 percent, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

Still, Deloitte expects holiday sales this season to top $1 trillion from November through January (which does not factor in sales of motor vehicles or gas). ECommerce is expected to be the big winner this holiday shopping season, with online sales forecasted to increase from 17 to 19 percent and hit as much as $98 billion.

Deloitte also expects digital interactions — online searches before going to a store or mobile searches while in-store, etc. — to influence 67 percent of all holiday retail store sales this season, a $661 billion figure.

“Retail competition will not only come from the big box down the street or major eCommerce players,” Rod Sides, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader, said in a statement. “It is also likely to come from the small and mid-sized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively taking share from large, traditional retailers to the tune of $200 billion in annual sales over the last five years. The retailers that compete on differentiated products and experiences should be well-positioned to outperform other competitors during the holiday season.”