Holiday season encourages more activity from consumers

Christmas is fast approaching but according to a poll done by Reuters, most Americans are not yet done with their shopping. The poll results fuel hopes of a big boost in sales within the last two weeks before Christmas; thereby giving the economy an extra helpful push. The bad news is, it appears that most Americans have less money to spend.

Details of the report are as follows.

About 58% of the survey respondents say that they have already done about half of their holiday shopping. 28% of those who responded, on the other hand, say that they have not yet started with their shopping at all. Meanwhile, the remaining 16% admit that they have already done their shopping.

Since only 16% of the respondents are done with their Holiday shopping then that means there is reason for retailers to be happy. History has taught everyone in the retail industry that the last two weeks to a day before Christmas are crucial selling points.

Consumers Are Less Likely To Spend More This Year

However, the results of the succeeding questions show that shoppers are closely monitoring their budget. Most of them have set a budget ceiling which the shopping money that they spend cannot exceed.

Only about 14% of those interviewed say that they are willing to spend more this year than they did last year. More than half of those who participated say that they will implement the same budget ceiling while the remaining 20% say they will spend less.

According to one of the participants, the looming budget cuts and increased taxes that are to be implemented by 2013 have affected the decision to not spend too much this Holiday season. Consumers want to save more and that’s not helping the economy at all. It must be remembered that 70% of the economy is highly dependent on the consumer’s spending activity.

Add to that, the consumers’ confidence in the US economy has not yet been fully regained. There are still gaps when it comes to employment as characterized by the relatively active number of unemployment claims.

“Shoppers Say They Will Spend Less But Actually Spend More”

The association of retailers say that they do not believe what the second part of the survey says. They reason that expectations and reality do not go along and just as what happens every year, consumers actually spend more during the Holidays.

Retail stores also play up a little to encourage more sales during the Holiday season. They do that by opening sales along discount chains or department stores. With such sales strategy, retail stores like Target Corp and Costco Wholesale Corp are expecting a sales increase of 4.3 percent more than what they achieved in December 2011. Macy’s even reported a 4.5 percent increase last year; and that’s 3 points from the 4.2 percent initial expectation.

So if the pattern established from the previous Holiday seasons are to be followed, a sale growth of up to 4 percent can be expected. If realized, the boost in sales could contribute in the growth of the economy that will close the fiscal year with a bang.