Holiday sales expected to hit record $136 billion this year, despite shorter season

Despite a shorter selling season this year, online holiday sales are expected to hit a record $136 billion — a 13 percent jump from last year.

That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by Salesforce, which found that shoppers have six fewer days between Cyber Week — the span of the Monday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — and Christmas to make their purchases.

“What that means, is retailers are really going to look to stretch the holiday on both sides,” Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president of industry strategy and insight for retails, told FOX Business. “We’re going to look for retailers to drum up demand and exclusivity.”

As a result, retailers are expected to see an increased number of early-bird shoppers on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving — a 22 percent increase, compared to last year. Salesforce forecast that Black Friday alone will bring in $7.3 billion in the U.S., and $39.6 billion globally. Cyber Monday is expected to inch past that revenue, bringing in $8.2 billion.

One unexpected victor from the shortened season will be so-called “click and collect” stores, or retailers that offer consumers the ability to purchase an item online and then pick it up in person. Garf estimated those types of retailers could see a 28 percent boost in sales, year over year.

“Consumers don’t realize the shortened time period,” Garf said. “So what happens is consumers will wake up form their cyber week hangover ready to shop, but realize that there are fewer days before the magical shipping cut-off window closes, around Dec. 14 to 15. For those retailers that don’t offer click-and-collect, they are not going to get the product there in time.”

The holiday season will arrive in the shadow of President Trump’s 15-month-long trade war with China, which has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs on each other’s goods.

In August, despite Trump’s decision to delay some tariffs until Dec. 15, after the critical holiday shopping period ends, the CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association warned the tariffs will affect 91 percent of the retail apparel industry and will be the “coal in the stockings.”


“We’re begging the administration. We’ve been begging them for months, ‘don’t do this, don’t hurt the consumer,’” Rick Helfenbein said. “We can live with this economy a little bit longer.”