Housewares Insight blog | How full will shopping carts be this holiday season?“Tis the season for the annual avalanche of holiday sales predictions … the time of year when economists, trend-trackers, and consultants make their annual holiday retail sales forecasts.

Here’s a summary of what the experts from the National Retail Federation (NRF), Accenture, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers  are predicting:

HOLIDAY SALES WILL INCREASE BY AROUND 4% THIS YEAR

The NRF is forecasting that holiday retail sales will increase by 4.1%, a full percentage point ahead of last year’s gain and markedly above the 10-year average annual pickup of 2.9%.

Deloitte’s prediction is very similar: they expect total holiday sales will increase by 4 to 4.5% in November through January holiday sales, a moderate improvement over last year’s 2.8% gain.

BUT THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS ARE NOT PLANNING TO SPEND MORE THAN THEY DID IN 2013

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Holiday Outlook, 16% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more this holiday season, versus 24% last year.

According to Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey, 25% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year compared to 20% in 2013.

DIFFERING OPINIONS ON WHETHER HOUSEHOLD HOLIDAY SPENDING WILL DECLINE OR INCREASE

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Holiday Outlook, average holiday household spending will decline 6.9% to $684, down from $735 in 2013.   Those making less than $50,000 a year plan to cut their holiday spending by 13% to $377, and even those making more than $50,000 also foresee spending 1% less than a year ago, reducing outlays to $978.

On the other hand, Nielsen predicts that middle income consumers (household income under $50K) will spend an average of 12% more than last year on holiday items and consumers with household incomes of more than $50K will spend 8% more.

ONLINE HOLIDAY SALES WILL OUTPACE BRICK-AND-MORTAR SALES

According to the Deloitte Annual Holiday Sales Forecast, non-store sales in the online and mail order channels will increase by 13.5 to 14% during the 2014 holiday season.

Shop.org, a division of the NRF, expects online sales in November and December to grow between 8 and 11% over 2013.

CONSUMERS WILL BE SPENDING MORE OF THEIR HOLIDAY BUDGET ONLINE

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 41% of shoppers plan to increase online spending in 2014.

According to the Accenture, 51% of shoppers plan to spend 50% or more of their total holiday gift dollars online this holiday season.

What do you think?  Do you agree with the experts?