The all-important 2015 holiday shopping season is officially underway.
A lot is a stake for the US economy and retail stocks.
Cool $630 Billion
Here are the trends that economists and stock market analysts are watching.
During the holiday shopping season in November and December, some $630 billion in sales will be transacted at retail outlets and online, according to projections by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The NRF is predicting a 3.7% increase in holiday spending this year.
That works out to $805 in average spending per person.
Click and Shop
And, increasingly, a greater percentage of that shopping will be done online instead of at brick-and-mortar stores.
The current forecast by the NRF is that almost half of holiday shopping, consisting of browsing and buying, will be done online.
Last year, some $2.6 billion was spent on holiday gifts on Cyber-Monday, up more than four-fold from 2006 levels.
Most online shopping is done on desktops followed by tablets and smartphones.
Black Friday sales done at stores continues to shrink as a percentage of total holiday sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
What stocks will thrive in this environment?
In short, those that offer value, a cool brand and smart online strategy.
Morgan Stanley recently chose five stocks it expects will perform well this holiday season. They include L Brands (LB), Lululemon (LULU), Ross Stores (ROST), Best Buy (BBY) and Nike (NKE).
A lot is riding for the US economy and retail investors this holiday shopping season.
Companies without smart online strategies will fall behind.
The Black Friday ritual of long lines and door-buster sales is giving way to click-and-buy shopping on desktops and smartphones.