Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Holiday Shioppers Spending Confidently

1/2/15 - According to a retail analytics firm called ShopperTrak, the biggest shopping day of the year is the Saturday before Christmas. But, what is the second-biggest shopping day? Statistics show, at least for 2014, that the second-biggest shopping day of the year is not Black Friday, as some might expect, but rather the Friday following Christmas. As stated in an article by Tiffany Hsu, Andrew Khouri, and Ronald D. White, of the Los Angeles Times, a combination of post-Christmas sales, optimism regarding the slowly-recovering economy, and even the calendar's placement of Christmas on a Thursday, come together to make the day after Christmas the perfect time to shop.

Christmas falling on a Thursday can have quite an impact on retail sales. For many, this turns into a four-day weekend, which could give consumers a full three days to shop. Such a “blockbuster” weekend could end the year with a bang, ensuring the National Retail Federation's prediction that this season's revenue would pull in approximately $616.9 billion.

Even more effective than the holiday's placement on the calendar, though, is the slowly-returning faith of the general population in our local and national economies. With a lowering of gas prices and a slow increase in employment, people find that they have more money to spend on those items they want, not just what they need. Consumers are beginning to have more faith in the continuity of their employment; they feel a good degree of job security. With that sense of job security comes increased spending, as consumers are more willing to make purchases when they feel sure of a steady income.

Retail stores have done well in predicting the amount of inventory they need this year. Instead of purchasing too little inventory and running out, or purchasing too much and having to cut into their bottom lines, it appears that the retailers have done well with their inventory, thus maximizing revenue. Online retailers have improved their on-time deliveries, compared with previous years, thus giving consumers more confidence in ordering gifts through the internet.

The days following Christmas are great for gift card redemption. Knowing this, retailers provide extra discounts, hoping that such gift cards will be used to purchase excess inventory. Store prices are down after Christmas, and wallets tend to be fatter, both of which prod consumers to spend. People seem to be happier with the current direction of the economy, and that is helping the economy even more.

While current discounts will certainly bleed over to the next year, retailers are accepting it as a positive trade-off. The first quarter of the coming year may not bring in as much money as retailers would like, but sources show that the second and third quarters are quite likely to bring great improvement for the economy in the coming year.

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