U.S. retail sales are set to climb 4.83 percent this year, compared to a 4.2 percent gain in 2017, thanks in part to strong U.S. consumer confidence, IBM said Friday.
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Besides strong consumer confidence, another factor boosting retail sales are a big demand for consumer appliances, sales of which are poised to soar 15.2 percent, the company said. Other strong categories this holiday season will be jewelry, up an expected 5.2 percent, and men’s apparel, up 12.7 percent.
"The retail industry is extremely dynamic and a host of powerful factors such as the economy, fast-moving market trends and consumer confidence all come into play," Michael Haydock, chief scientist with IBM Global Business Services, said in a statement.
“With [artificial intelligence] and advanced analytics, we can get the experience just right for discerning consumers when they walk into the store," he said.
Weather conditions will affect what consumers buy and when, he added. Mild temperatures, for example, could weigh on sales of snowblowers and cold-weather clothing.
The IBM data originates from the U.S. Census Bureau, which captures total sales observations from over 46,000 retail establishments.