Deloitte

The first station has yet to flip to an all-Christmas format, but it’s only a matter of time. Sales reps are already on the street pitching holiday packages. And while it’s still summer for a few more days, the first holiday forecast has arrived – tied in a bow of growth. Deloitte is projecting Americans will spend between 4.5% and 5% more in the 2019 holiday season than they did a year ago. It’s the sort of outlook that could help convince retailers to spend more on fourth quarter advertising.

“Based on a growth in consumer disposable income and spending indicators, retailers, across channels, should expect a strong holiday season in 2019,” said Rod Sides, leader of Deloitte’s U.S. retail practice. He said a lot of the investment has gone into improving the customer experience to offer a seamless experience between brick and mortar and online shopping, as well as on fulfillment and shipping to get packages on doorsteps even more quickly.

Deloitte estimates holiday sales will exceed $1.1 trillion during the November–January timeframe. And e-commerce sales will drive the way, with projections that online sales will increase another 14-18% this holiday season. That’s on top of the 11% growth rate seen a year ago.

“The projected holiday season growth is, in part, due to the current health of the labor market. Near record-low unemployment rates, coupled with continued monthly job creation, may encourage people to spend more during the holiday season,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster. “The economy is still growing, albeit at a slower rate. Additionally, we continue to see consumer confidence elevated, which also helps boost holiday spending.”

Some retailers are already pushing out holiday-themed spots. The online craft marketplace Etsy began running spots this week as part of what Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Scott told Ad Age is the company’s “offensive strategy” to reach shoppers early. But some may find it offensive in a not-so-great way. And sensing a backlash to starting too soon, Etsy’s rival eBay said it won’t run any holiday-themed ads until November. But waiting may come at a price. As Ad Age points out, a survey released last holiday season showed nearly two-thirds of buyers were “deal hunting” in October.

There are 97 days until Christmas, but how many days until the first all-Christmas radio station? Last year that came on Halloween with several more following on Nov. 1.