Infographic: Holiday Sales Are a Gift in Itself

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As we head into the holiday season, retail marketers' wish list has but one item on it: an increase in holiday sales. Indeed, those marketers may just get the gift they long for most of all. Accenture, National Retail Federation (NRF), and ShopperTrak all predict modest increases in holiday sales (i.e., sales in November and December).

According to ShopperTrak, 20% of annual retail activity is typically driven by holiday sales and store shopper traffic. The organization projects a 2.4% increase in 2013 retail holiday sales over 2012. Similarly, National Retail Federation (NRF) notes that holiday sales usually represent about 20% of total retail industry annual sales. NRF projects a 3.9 increase in 2013 retail holiday sales over 2012.

 Accenture puts holiday season sales at 20 to 40% of an individual retailer's annual sales. But at an 11% increase, its 2013 projected holiday spending per consumer over 2013 is significantly more generous than ShopperTrak and NRF's projections. Similarly, Shop.org expects a 13 to 15% increase in 2013 online holiday sales over 2013.

Accenture forecasts $646 as the average amount U.S. consumers will each spend this holiday season.

Where are those consumers expected to shop? ShopperTrak predicts that 90% of 2013 U.S. holiday retail sales will occur in brick-and-mortar stores. And Shop.org forecasts 2013 online holiday sales of $82 billion. Overall, NRF projects $602.1 billion in 2013 retail holiday sales.

Although holiday sales forecasts focus on November and December, Accenture's 2013 “Holiday Shopping Survey” finds that 73% of U.S. consumers polled have already begun their holiday shopping, and 38% said they're likely to shop on Thanksgiving.

So, for marketers, now more than ever, there's no time to procrastinate. In fact, there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas in 2013, whereas there were 31 days between the two holidays last year, according to ShopperTrak. And this year Hanukkah actually begins 11 days prior to Black Friday.

Although, according to Accenture, 94% of consumers polled said that discounts will be important to their purchase decisions this holiday season, 20% plan to spend more on gifts this year over 2012. In fact, 46% expect to overspend on their 2013 holiday budget.

Let the registers ring in the holiday cheer.

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