Retail Sales & Consumer Spending Forecast

Economic Forecasts

Amazon Prime Day Gooses Consumer Spending

Kiplinger’s latest forecast on retail sales and consumer spending


GDP 2019 growth will be 2.3%; 1.8% in 2020 More »
Jobs Job gains of about 170,000 per month in '19 More »
Interest rates 10-year T-notes staying around 2% until trade war ends More »
Inflation 2.3% in ’19, up from 1.9% in ’18 More »
Business spending Up 5% in ’19 as global growth slows More »
Energy Crude trading from $50 to $55 per barrel in October More »
Housing 5.35 million existing-home sales, down 1.1% in ’19 More »
Retail sales Growing 4.5% in '19 (excluding gas and autos) More »
Trade deficit Widening 7%-8% in ’19 More »

It was Christmas in July as Amazon Prime Day boosted e-commerce sales and goosed consumer spending. Non-store sales jumped 2.8% last month. Total sales rose 0.7% but were still up 0.4% without e-commerce sales.

Good wage growth and low unemployment should mean good retail sales this year. We expect sales, excluding gasoline and autos, to increase 4.5%, slightly lower than 2018’s 4.7% bump. E-commerce sales will continue rising aggressively, probably by 14%—the 10th straight year of double-digit increases. In-store sales will also rise, though only by about 2%.

Restaurant sales continue to surge ahead, with the sixth consecutive strong gain in July. Over the past year, sales have roughly mirrored the stock market’s performance. The stock market has risen 15% in 2019 and has likely contributed to consumers’ willingness to eat out. But expect 2019 sales growth to be 5%, down a bit from 2018’s strong 6.3%.

Building materials sales continue to be anemic, and should grow only 0.3% in 2019. The slump in construction of new housing is likely a major reason.

Source: Department of Energy, Price Statistics