The holiday sales track record over 25+ years


Volatility is one of the characteristics of holiday retail sales—with the focus here on stores that sell gift-type goods. These stores, in other words, exclude car dealers, gas stations, restaurants, food, and drug stores.

More specifically, the graphic below shows that:

  • Volatility is evident in sales growth that can spike well above average in any given year—or periodically slow to a significant degree.
  • Growth since the Great Recession has been about 1.5 percentage points weaker on average compared with the years prior to that downturn.

Note that the store types considered here are shown among the “multiple selections” in the chart’s drop-down box, which can be changed to show the holiday pattern for any specific retail channel.

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