Holiday Shopping Forecasts Mixed as Consumers Migrate Online | Connecticut Public Radio
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Holiday Shopping Forecasts Mixed as Consumers Migrate Online

Nov 29, 2016

The holiday shopping season, which kicked off on Black Friday, has many analysts guessing as to how much we’ll spend. And some of that uncertainty is attributable to the extraordinary year we’ve experienced. 

The National Retail Federation said an initial survey taken Sunday seems to show a modest drop in the amount shoppers spent on holiday purchases over the Black Friday weekend. But the average fall, from $299 last year to $289 this year, may well be due to even deeper discounting by stores.

The Federation is calling for a modest increase in spending overall before the season is done, while the Conference Board said it expects spending to end up flat with last year.

Don Klepper Smith, economist with Datacore Partners in Connecticut, said he thinks the recent post-election bump in stock prices may make us more inclined to open our wallets.

“There’s something out there called the wealth effect, which says that for every dollar you gain in your stock portfolio, you go out and spend an extra nickel in the near-term economy," he told WNPR. "So what that says here is with the stock market reaching new highs in November, some of that is going to translate into increased holiday shopping.”

Klepper Smith also thinks the election itself may factor into people’s willingness to spend, seeking an escape from the divisiveness of our politics.

“They’re probably looking to maybe pamper themselves a little bit, maybe spend a little bit on themselves and their loved ones," he said. "So it wouldn’t surprise me to see the holiday shopping season get a small boost in a post-election environment.”

One confirmed trend this year: Cyber Monday is becoming an everyday occurrence. In fact on Black Friday itself, more shoppers stayed home on the internet than ventured to brick and mortar stores. Over the entire holiday weekend, more than $5 billion was spent online -- a record.