Source: Pixabay

Following months of back and forth peppered with unexpected wildcards and unusual uncertainty, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has unwrapped its annual holiday forecast.

The NRF believes that all signs point to an overall U.S. retail sales increase of between 3.6-5.2% over November and December of last year. Should the predictions ring true, cash registers in the U.S. will ring between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion during the important holiday season.

“We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year. We expect a strong finish to the holiday season and will continue to work with municipal and state officials to keep retailers open and the economy moving forward at this critical time.”

NRF data, which does not include sales made at car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants, defines the holiday season as running Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The organization notes that its forecast may differ from other organizations that use different methodology or define the holiday season as being longer, or include other retail outlets not tracked by the NRF.

Digital sales, which are included in the NRF total, are expected to increase by 20% to 30%.

Families looking for tips on how to shop for holiday toys during the pandemic are encouraged to consult a special feature assembled by our sister publication, the Toy Insider.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.