Now the holiday’s approaching, you need more than enough inventory and sound logistics. It’s time to consider general staffing services. Forecasts suggest it’s going to be the busiest time of the year.

It Sounds Like a Merry Year

The retail forecast for the coming holidays, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is already in. So far, the numbers are good. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) predicts sales growth from 3.8% to 4.2%. For the last five years, the average sales percentage increase was 3.7%.

In other words, NRF is more optimistic this year. Retailers should be too. This growth translates to more than $700 billion in revenue. Deloitte keeps an even more positive outlook. It expects sales to jump as high as 4.5% to 5% this year. That’s about a trillion dollars.

It’s also a far cry from retail performance in 2018. Last year, sales growth was no more than 3.5%, according to the Census Bureau. The Deloitte survey also forecasts an excellent growth for e-commerce. During the holiday season, it can increase by up to 18%. Last year, it grew to 11.2%. Another global consulting firm called AlixPartners shares Deloitte’s sentiments. The group believes revenues could rise up to 5.3%.

The Numbers Speak

Shopping basket and gifts for Valentine's or Christmas with color bokeh on background

Two factors can drive great holiday sales this year: the unemployment rate and consumer sentiment. As of September 2019, the unemployment rate slid to 3.5%. About 275,000 people found jobs during the survey period. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shared it was still in 1969 when the rate was this low. Those who completed their temporary work also went down to 2.6 million during the same period. New workers, or those who were never employed, went up to more than 675,000.

Consumer sentiment or confidence is also high. In October 2019, it rose to 96, according to the University of Michigan. This is at least 3 points higher than in September 2019. It is also better than the market forecast of only 92. Consumer sentiment is an economic indicator of the people’s confidence in their finances and the country’s economy. So far, there’s every reason to be positive.

Besides the low unemployment rate, inflation is down. It declined from 2.8% in September to 2.5% in October. The five-year outlook is even rosier at 2.2% from 2.4%. The increase in the average household income has been slow since 2017 compared to the previous three years. But it’s growing at a pace up to 3.3% each year. The Census Bureau revealed that a typical household now earns at least $61,000. Between 2017 and 2018, wages also increased in nearly half of the most populous metros. The median household income also rose among 14 states within the same period.

Challenges still hound US businesses. There’s the ongoing trade war with China and oil prices. Changing consumer preferences, especially with shipping, can also stress you. The growth and diversification of retail giants like Amazon add to the long list of threats. Fortunately, you can mitigate these in many ways. Seasonal staffing, for instance, can ensure you can meet consumer demand while being flexible with your workforce size.