The stars seem to be aligning for retailers this Christmas. With the Fed raising interest rates, signaling an end to the Great Recession in the US, Americans are poised to start spending it up again this year.
Gallup surveys from both October and November indicate that consumers are planning on making it a very merry Christmas, spending an average of $830 on gifts. That’s considerably different from last year’s $720 and a low of $616 when the economy tanked in 2008.
The signal that times are a changing this year may also be felt in a change in shopping habits. The acceptance of in-store Thanksgiving Day shopping has prompted some retailers to start thinking about Christmas Day shopping. And they aren’t the only ones.
A LoyaltyOne survey indicates that 20% of Americans would shop in stores after 6 p.m. on Christmas Day. That charge is being led by the younger crowd, with 33% of consumers aged 18-24 ready to shop on Christmas Day.
So far there’s been no move by major retailers to open their doors on Christmas, but there’s mounting pressure to compete with online sales which took a considerable chunk out of brick and mortar Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales this year.
However, 25% of consumers polled said they’d punish retailers who opened on Christmas Day by not only not shopping on the day, but they’d be less likely to give them their business in the future.
For now, as the clouds of recession start to part, clearer skies and aligning stars seem ready to give retailers and consumers both a merrier Christmas.