Holiday Shoppers Waiting Out Merchants
Despite some of the consumer craziness caught by cameras on Black Friday, this year’s holiday shopping season is off to a slow start.
Research conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities showed 25 percent of shoppers had finished most of their holiday gift buying by Dec. 3. That’s down from 32 percent each of the prior two years.
Sales for the week following Thanksgiving fell 3.1 percent, getting this year’s holiday shopping season off to the slowest start in four years.
Dan Popowics, an analyst with Fifth Third Asset Management, told Bloomberg News, consumers are “procrastinating” this year.
“Shoppers are savvy and realize that in some cases they can be rewarded for waiting,’ said Mr. Popowics. “The calendar needs to turn over a few more days before the season heats up a bit.”
ICSC Chief Economist Mike Niemira said, “I’d be surprised if you saw a boom from here on out or a bust. I suspect that you will see a lot of the buying particularly in the last two weekends before Christmas.’
Discussion Questions: Do you see any significance in the decline in the percentage of shoppers who have finished their gift buying so far this year compared
to previous Christmases? Has the apparent plan by retailers to limit discounts been the cause of the slow start to the season?