by Axis Payments
Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us once again, which means that the biggest sales season of the year is also close at hand. Of all the occasions for increased economic activity on the retail level, the holiday season is by far the biggest stimulus of sales. This year should be no exception, with yet another record breaking year predicted.
A Fifth of All Sales
Not everyone appreciates just how big, and how vital, the holiday shopping season is to our economy. The truth is that nearly 20%, or a fifth of all retail sales for the year, occur during the holiday season. For many businesses, that amount falls well withing the margin of what they need to sell to have a profitable year. In other words, many businesses depend on holiday season sales to keep their doors open. Many people also depend on the holiday sales season for employment, as retailers typically hire over 750,000 seasonal workers each year.
There is really no official start to the holiday shopping season. Much depends on the type of business, for some it may start as early as September or not kick in until the last weeks of December. However, for most retailers the unofficial kick-off day is the day after Thanksgiving, generally known as Black Friday.
A newer, but fast growing companion to Black Friday is Cyber Monday, which falls on the first Monday after Black Friday. This day is devoted to the promotion of e-commerce, the buying and selling of things online. Once only a small fraction of holiday sales, online shopping has boomed in recent years. In 2010, retails analysts predicted that e-commerce holiday shopping would pass $300 billion in 2017. However, that milestone is expected to be blown past this year, as the 2015 shopping season is expected to produce at least $325 billion in retail sales.
Long Term Trends
It can be safely assumed that people will always enjoy doing some of their holiday shopping in actual brick and mortar stores. Yet, an ever increasing amount of shopping will also be done online, with average year to year growth in e-commerce holiday shopping averaging around five or six percent growth each holiday season since 2009. With record breaking sales expected once again this year, every business will want to be fully prepared to handle that extra business and all of the electronic payments that the increase will entail. For those businesses that are prepared, 2015 should be a very happy holiday season.