The National Retail Federation (NRF) cited widespread Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States as the driving force for change as it reported a drop in total shoppers in the stretch that just ended, but has confirmed his outlook for a “record breaking” season overall.
The group’s updated forecast follows an industry survey showing consumer confidence plummeted in November as inflation and coronavirus cases rose, while concerns over the latest variant of Covid- 19 weighed on stocks in Tuesday’s trading.
NRF President Matthew Shay said the widespread immunizations meant a “vastly improved health environment” compared to the 2020 season.
Shay described the overall economic conditions as “very favorable” given the low unemployment rate and healthy consumption balance sheets, although he also recognized the challenges which include shortages of some popular items and a shortage of labor. ‘artwork.
Physical retailers jumped 13.6% to 104.9 million shoppers in the five-day holiday from 2020, while online shoppers fell 12.1% to 127.8 million , according to the NRF.
In total, just under 180 million Americans shopped during the holiday weekend, which included Thanksgiving, the season’s “Black Friday” kickoff and “Cyber Monday,” which focuses on e-commerce promotions.
The overall figure was down 3.5% from 2020 levels but above a four-year average. Spending per consumer also fell, but retail experts attribute the drop in part to a tendency by shoppers to spread their purchases over a longer period of time.
The NRF has reaffirmed that it expects overall sales to climb 8.5-10.5% this season to $ 859 billion.
Shay said it was “obviously early” to assess the potential drag of the newly discovered Omicron variant of Covid-19 over the shopping season.
He noted that in previous waves of Covid, shoppers shifted their spending from experiences to goods, increasing demand for retailers.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index had fallen about two points to 109.5 this month, worse than analysts had expected as the world’s largest economy is in struggling with record inflation and still high Covid-19 infection rates.