Holiday retail spending in the U.S. could shatter all previous sales records, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Overall, NRF expects sales during November and December to reach up to $859 billion—a year-over-year increase of up to 10.5 percent. The Washington, D.C.-based trade association expects online sales to account for more than one quarter of that total, rising up to 15 percent over 2020 to more than $226 billion.
“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”
Supply chain concerns and any emerging Covid-19 variant could affect sales more than expected, the NRF says, but most retailers are already making preparations for longer lead times by starting promotions earlier and increasing hiring at stores and online fulfillment warehouses.
NRF expects retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers vs. 486,000 seasonal hires in 2020. Some of this hiring may have been pulled into October as many retailers encouraged households to shop early to avoid a lack of inventory and shipping delays.