The Big Story
2018 Holiday Sales: More Diamonds Than Coal?
Three months from today is Christmas Eve. Gifts will be wrapped, but what will be opened?
It’s that time of the year when early prognosticators reveal their holiday sales forecasts based partly on recent back-to-school sales and various other factors. For perspective, holiday sales account for roughly 20% of total annual retail sales overall, but can represent significantly more for many businesses.
The back-to-school shopping season is the second-largest seasonal shopping period of the year in terms of consumer spending. Totaling $84 billion, sales last year (2017) saw a dramatic increase of 10% over 2016 and were record-setting. Although final numbers for 2018 are still being tabulated, it looks like this year was be able to hold onto almost all of those gains, but narrowly fell to $83 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). 2018 college spending is expected to have reached a record $55 billion, while elementary through high school spending is expected to have totaled $28 billion. The slight drop overall is credited toward electronics (laptops, tablets, smartphones) being more frequently purchased throughout the year as part of everyday life rather than being associated with school.