The National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division said it expects ecommerce sales in November and December to grow between 13% to 15% over last holiday season to as much as $82.0 billion.
“Online and mobile continue to be a leading area of growth for retailers. In this economy savvy, cost-conscious consumers go to the web to do their research and get the best bang for their buck,” said Matthew Shay, president of the NRF, in a press release.
Shay said that in addition to researching what their peers are saying online about products and gifts this holiday season, consumers will use the buy online pick-up in store option, retailers’ apps and mobile websites to make a holiday-season purchase.
The NRF also said it expects overall retail sales for the holiday season to increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5% holiday season sales growth. The forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3%.
There is, however, a caveat to NRF’s 2013 holiday predictions: The U.S. Government shutdown.
“Our forecast is also somewhat hinging on Congress and the Administration’s actions over the next 45 days, ” Shay said. “Without action, we face the potential of losing the faith Americans have in their leaders, and the pursuant decrease in consumer confidence.”
According to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 720,000 and 780,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, in line with the actual 720,500 they hired in 2012, which was a 13% year-over-year increase from 2011.
That estimate differs from a September report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas that suggests shaky consumer confidence will cause seasonal hiring to drop this year.
NRF’s calculations are based on government data including consumer confidence, consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that final Q4 2012 (October – December) ecommerce sales increased 15.5%.