How will natural and man-made disasters (superstorm Sandy, the looming fiscal cliff) impact consumer confidence
And so it begins. The winter holiday shopping season, which can account for up to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenues, begins in earnest on Black Friday, which itself has crept earlier into Thanksgiving, with some retailers opening their doors on Thursday evening. This is the earliest Thanksgiving has landed in the month in five years giving shoppers a good head start.
A Gallup poll released Wednesday forecasts that Americans will spend an average of $770 on holiday gifts this year, basically unchanged from 2011 spending levels, and holiday retail sales overall will increase by between 3.5 percent and 3.7 percent.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that up to 147 million plan to shop Black Friday weekend, a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year. Seventy-one million said they would be shopping, while 76 million said they are adopting a wait-and-shop attitude depending on what retailers have in store.
The NRF previously projected a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales this year, compared with a 5.6 percent gain in 2011.
The Gallup estimate is based on a survey of 1,015 adults across the country. Nearly nine in 10 respondents said they will spend some amount of money on Christmas gifts, including 30 percent who will spend $1,000 or more, slightly more than in 2011.
A key indicator of how consumers will spend at Christmas is how they spent in the months leading up to the holiday season. Natural and man-mad-disasters (superstorm Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff) have caused consumers to hold back spending, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned this week in his appearance at the Economic Club of New York.
Some are resisting Black Friday’s siren shopping call. Three-quarters of affluent households surveyed by Millionaire Corner said they do not plan to go shopping on Black Friday. Resistance increases with age. Sixty-one percent of those under 40 said they would not be venturing out to stores on Black Friday compaired with 83 percent of those over the age of 60.
Of those who are shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, 41 percent said they would be spending between $200 and $499, with one-quarter estimating they would be spending between $100 and $199.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.