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AccuWeather's Forecasts of Holiday Sales Exceed National Retail Federation Projections by $4 Billion

December 06, 2017; 4:03 PM

Last-minute shoppers risk potential weather-related shipping delays.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center -- December 6, 2017 -- AccuWeather, the world's largest, fastest-growing and most trusted source of weather forecasts and warnings and a global leader in weather-related big data and analytics, today announced a 2017 holiday sales forecast that exceeds National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates by as much as $4 billion. Nearly $2 billion of AccuWeather's projected increase is directly attributable to AccuWeather forecasts of weather conditions that other retail sales forecasts may not be taking into account.

AccuWeather's D3 Data Driven Decisions analytics group predicts holiday spending -- both e-commerce and in-store -- during November and December will total $683.3 billion, an increase of 4.2 percent or $27.5 billion over spending for the same period in 2016. This is a larger increase than the increase predicted by the NRF in an October 3rd holiday sales forecast press release, which is a rise of between $23.6 and $26.2 billion.

AccuWeather's analysis further indicates that people in some parts of the United States prefer cold weather and light "mood" snow for them to get into the holiday spirit. While AccuWeather forecasts above-normal temperatures for large parts of the country, which may have slowed sales leading up to the holiday so far, AccuWeather's forecast of much colder conditions in some regions are expected to make up for lagging sales overall.

According to the AccuWeather forecasts, the midwestern and northeastern U.S. are expected to experience below-normal temperatures in the coming weeks with episodes of snow, particularly Dec. 9-13. An Atlantic storm may brush the I-95 corridor from Richmond, Virginia, to Boston. Should this occur, these areas may see a temporary dip in retail sales as people remain indoors and shop less, but overall many retailers will benefit from the cold temperatures with wintry precipitation with regard to sales of winter products. Nevertheless, AccuWeather recommends shoppers be mindful of slick or slippery conditions as they head to stores.

"AccuWeather's proprietary models for the next two weeks show above-normal temperatures in the West and colder-than-normal weather in the East, especially across the Northeast through Christmas, which should provide an extra boost for holiday spending as long as no crippling snowstorms occur -- and that is great news for the American economy," said Dr. Joel Myers, Founder, President and Chairman of AccuWeather. "Coming off the heels of this year's Black Friday and then Cyber Monday -- which turned out to be the largest online shopping day in history, resulting in nearly $1 billion more than last year's -- the momentum is set to continue this trend through the holiday season. Obviously, less stormy weather means more in-store sales, and more storms will benefit online retailers."

Most holiday sales estimates look solely at economic trends. AccuWeather's holiday sales forecast also takes into account the additional impact of weather conditions and weather forecasts on holiday shopping, which accounts for 25 percent of the change in sales year over year. By including weather as a factor in its proprietary models, AccuWeather sees a $1.3 to $4 billion increase for 2017 over NRF estimates of holiday sales.

Myers offers one note of caution to people who wait until the last minute to purchase and ship holiday gifts. Currently, AccuWeather is forecasting wintery and snowy conditions for many parts of the country beginning around December 21, especially in the northeastern United States. Shoppers should make their purchases and ship them well before December 21st, or they may find delays affecting shippers and shipping hubs. Travel during this period may also be impacted.

"Shoppers would be smart to make their purchases and ship as soon as possible, and not wait until it's too late," said Myers. "We see that typically 5 percent of holiday purchases are shipped last-minute, and we hope that won't be the case this year. For the purposes of convenience, planning and most of all safety, we advise shoppers and travelers alike to download the AccuWeather app and closely monitor changing weather conditions this holiday season."

About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hourly and Minute by Minute(tm) forecasts with Superior Accuracy(tm) with customized content and engaging video presentations available on smartphones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites, connected TVs, and Internet appliances, as well as via radio, television, and newspapers. Established in 1962 by Founder, President, and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers - a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society who was recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur Magazine's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs - AccuWeather also delivers a wide range of highly customized enterprise solutions to media, business, government, and institutions, as well as news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites.

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