Online Sales Expected To Increase 6 To 8 Percent to $105 billion

The National Retail Federation estimates solid retail sales growth this holiday. E-commerce is expected to outpace overall retail sales growth in November 2015 and December 2015.


As many retailers are getting ready for a holiday sales surge, the National Retail Federation announced Thursday that it expects sales to increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion in November and December 2015. Online sales are once again expected outpace overall growth, increasing between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion.

The NRF estimates holiday sales will account for approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s total annual sales of $3.2 trillion. These estimates exclude autos, gas and restaurant sales.

“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”

“Price, value and even timing will all play a role in how, when, where and why people shop over the holiday season,” said Shay. “Retailers will be competitive not only on price, but on digital initiatives, store hours, product offerings and much more.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast takes into account indicators such as consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. Forecasts include the non-store category which covers direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.

PayPal Outages Cost Merchants $ Millions

Merchants impacted by Thursday evening’s PayPal outage took to Twitter to share their outrage.

Payments company PayPal suffered a massive outage late Thursday night, which took down payments through the service across a number of sites, including former parent company eBay EBAY -0.27% and Etsy, a marketplace for homemade goods.

The interruption, which was caused by an outage in one of PayPal’s data centers, lasted for two hours. Despite the outage only lasting for a short time, some merchants reported a loss in sales because of the disruption. Etsy ETSY 2.11% halted sales using PayPal PYPL -1.68% , and many merchants and users took to Twitter to express their outrage about the outage. PayPal has 10 million merchants using its payment service.

The economic impact of a PayPal outage is actually significant for the company’s 173 million users. PayPal processed $235 billion in payment volume in 2014, or $644 million per day on average. For two hours, that would equal $51 million in payments. While these are estimates, that’s a large loss for merchants.

It’s a sign of how widespread and significant PayPal has become in powering e-commerce globally. Hiccups with the service can have meaningful impact on merchants, their sales, and their sanity.

Of course, PayPal users, in many cases, could have switched to using their credit cards for their online shopping. So merchants may not have lost out entirely.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for PayPal issued this statement. “The network experienced an intermittent interruption during a period of relatively low traffic. At 7pm PT, the majority of volume is in APAC [Asia and Pacific countries] not in EMEA [Europe and the Middle East] or USA. This interruption was caused by a data center power outage and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”