It’s expected this year will have been an especially strong holiday season for retailers, both nationally and in Missouri.

Image courtesy of Missouri Retailers Association

According to the annual Deloitte Holiday Survey, sales from November through January are projected to exceed $1 trillion, which represents an increase of between 3.6 percent and 4 percent over 2015.

Dave Overfelt with the Missouri Retailers Association thinks the robust spending is connected to prices at the pump.

“With gasoline coming down and stabilizing, not seeing these giant swings up and down with gasoline pricing, that’s got to help” said Overfelt.  “If anybody doesn’t think that the gallon of gas price doesn’t impact discretionary spending, it really does.”  Overfelt thinks the holiday shopping season will continue into the first week of 2017 due to item returns, bargain hunting and gift card spending.

The National Retail Federation reports the first half of holiday season sales were up five percent year-to-year.  Overfelt says he was expecting a banner year, based on certain indicators.

“We felt that the consumers had more money in their pocket, but when we started seeing the travel statistics and travel going up tremendously early on, we knew that our predictions were going to come through.”

AAA Missouri projects a record 103 million people will travel through the holiday season it tracks, which ends January 2nd, 2017.

The Deloitte Holiday Survey shows 75 percent of respondents believe their household finances are the same or better this year than last. The survey also shows that for the first time ever, shoppers indicated they would spend as much money online as in stores.  Overfelt says there’s an upside to this trend.

“We’re seeing a lot of people order an item online from a brick and mortar retailer who I tend to represent” said Oberfelt.  “When they go to pick it up, they, more often than not, buy items in the store.”

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 64 percent of people who were planning to purchase items online were also planning to pick up the item in-store and make additional purchases there.  E-commerce sales are expected to increase by almost 20 percent, reaching nearly $100 million this season.

Other results from various surveys closely watched by retail organizations point to robust results for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

U.S. adults had planned to spend $419 on holiday-related items while the average shopper was planning to buy 14 items. An American Express survey shows Americans expected to increase their holiday spending by 8 percent.