The latest on holiday retail trends

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it's time to take a look at this year's retail forecast.

Christmas may seem like it's still a long ways off, but retailers are already taking advantage of the cooling weather to air their first holiday-themed advertisements. Kmart screened a "non-Christmas ad" in September, and Toys R US, Walmart and Target soon followed suit.

It's no surprise that companies are so eager to kick-start their holiday campaigns.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), an average of almost 20 percent of annual retail sales are made in November and December. This puts a great deal of pressure on businesses to perform well during the holidays, a proposition that was somewhat stunted last year due to harsh winter weather. 

Although economists can't control snowstorms, they are hoping that this year will prove more productive.

"The outlook is good going into 2015," said NRF's chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz. "I think the economy is improving, and the consumer will continue to be a major contributor."

Kleinhenz is currently working on the NRF's much-anticipated holiday sales forecast, and has high hopes for this season, estimating that the year will end with a 3 percent growth rate in the U.S.'s GDP. According to Deloitt, we can expect a 4 percent increase in holiday spending, 86 percent of which will take place in brick-and-mortar stores.

The most popular products this year are expected to be tech items ranging from the latest iPhone to Amazon's new batch of tablets. For kids, Frozen products are expected to fly off the shelves.

As you prepare for the holiday season, make sure your business is using trustworthy and reliable credit card payment software with inventory tracking capabilities. This will make those hectic sale days go so much smoother, while giving you invaluable data on your buyers' holiday habits and preferences.

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