Holiday spending will slow to pre-pandemic levels, National Retail Federation forecasts

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - 7:45am

woman looks at shirt
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Sarah Saucedo browses at Torrid store in Tempe in June 2018.

Holiday spending is projected to slow this year, compared to the past three years. The National Retail Federation expects holiday spending to return to pre-pandemic levels with an increase of between 3% and 4% over last year.

The group’s consumer survey found 55% like to get gift cards, followed by clothing and accessories, and video games and media.

President and CEO Matt Shay said when it comes to declining consumer confidence, there’s a disconnect between attitudes and actions.

“Inflation impacts their attitudes. People are aware that inflation is higher, they’re sensitive to it, they’re thinking about it and, as a result, their attitude-their confidence level - may not be as high, but as long as the job market is as strong as it is their actions are going to continue to power the economy," Shay said.

To meet holiday demand, retailers are projected to hire between 345,000 and 450,000 seasonal workers.

In 2020, the retail federation reported $782.3 billion in holiday sales, a 9.1% increase from 2019. Sales for 2021 were 12.7% higher than 2020. In 2022, the growth slowed to 5.4% compared with 2021. The 3% to 4% increase forecast for 2023 equals between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

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