Holiday Season Ecommerce Growth Will Ease a Bit this Year

2017 holiday sales will reach $916.97 billion

Author: eMarketer Editors

March 7, 2017

In the 2017 holiday shopping season, eMarketer expects US retail ecommerce sales will grow 15.8%, a bit slower than the 17.8% increase seen in the 2016 holiday sales season.

Overall holiday retail sales are also expected to see slower growth this year, rising 2.0% compared with 2016's 4.8%.

But the retail environment is unusually difficult to forecast this year, cautioned eMarketer retail analyst Yory Wurmser. “US consumer confidence is at its highest level in 15 years, and tax cuts could boost spending,” he said, “but a border tax could raise prices on retail goods and political instability in general could spook consumers.”

One thing that is not changing is the inexorable increase in ecommerce's share of total retail. In the 2016 holiday season, ecommerce made up 10.6% of total retail. This year, the share will reach 12.0%.

The projections are highlights of a new eMarketer report authored by Wurmser: “US Holiday Shopping Preview 2017: Recapping 2016, and Looking Ahead to This Season.” (The full report is available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers.)

Listen to eMarketer’s Yory Wurmser discuss what happened during the 2016 holiday shopping season in a recent episode of “Behind the Numbers.”

eMarketer projects that overall retail ecommerce sales will climb 16.0% in 2017, down slightly from 16.2% growth last year. Still, the increase will be enough to expand ecommerce’s share of total retail sales to 9.2%, up from 8.2% in 2016.

This increasing share reflects the rapid rise in ecommerce as well as the slow growth in non-ecommerce retail. eMarketer expects traditional retail sales will inch up just 2.4% this year. This is a slight improvement from 1.9% growth in 2016, but it remains paltry next to the gains in ecommerce.