New Canaan, Conn., Customer Growth Partners (CGP) has issued its annual holiday sales forecast, predicting 5% to 5.4% annual growth, in line with average growth rates of the past decade and despite continued soft apparel sales.
“As we said after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, when gasoline prices rose well above $3 per gallon, Americans are far more resilient than the experts expect,” said CGP president Craig Johnson. “And just as sales rose 7% at holiday 2005, despite Wall Street expectations of a low-growth Christmas, 2007 will see over 5% holiday sales growth, held down only by a stubborn housing slump.”
Turning to this year’s hot merchandise categories, Johnson said it will be a very “tech Christmas.”
“Apple is today’s leading fashion icon,” Johnson said. “The ‘it’ items this year are not handbags but iPhones and Wii’s. Nobody stands in line to buy a handbag or a sweater. But they do stand in line at 5 a.m. at every Wal-Mart and Best Buy in the country on mornings Wii shipments are arriving.”
In highlighting CGP’s forecast, Johnson said, “Based on energy and consumer statistics going back 30 years—and ten major energy and disaster events since—Americans have always been pluckier than the pundits predict, particularly at the holidays. Based on everything we’ve seen to date—and with the caveat that both apparel and home improvement are still in the doldrums—this year should be no different.”