Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Spending
Reaches Pre-Recession Numbers

       This year's holiday shopping season is setting a jolly tune with the hope that spending levels will return to pre-recession numbers, according to this article from the Huffington Post.  There was a 32 percent increase from last year's spending and it is projected that the average shopper will plan to spend 854 dollars on presents this year, according to the study from the American Research Group. In 2007 the average American shopper spent 856 dollars on holiday gifts. This is a strong sign that public confidence in the economy is picking up, according to a study conducted by the American Research Group, Inc.

       The holiday shopping season kicked off on a strong foot with a successful black Friday and cyber Monday. This year cyber Monday sales hit 1.5 billion dollars and were up 25.6 percent from last year's sales, according to this Huffington Post article. The hype of cyber Monday is very popular among young adults who don't find shopping online to be foreign. 

        "I am a big shopper so, because I go to the malls a lot, I know what I want. This is why I buy online during cyber Monday. I think that if you don't shop a lot you won't know what works and how certain products will turn out so shopping online is harder," said Boston University student, Shuang Guo, who says she decreased her spending this year due to a tighter budget.

        "I bought a Mac Book Pro online for around 600 hundred dollars. Overall I saved around 800 from the sales while shopping online," added Guo. She was very pleased with her holiday savings; however, did express dissatisfaction with the slow server connection while trying to complete a few transactions online during cyber Monday.

          According to this article from the National Retail Federation, it is projected that more than half of all holiday shoppers will purchase gifts online this year. 31.4 percent of consumers negatively affected by the economy are more likely to comparatively shop online and 46.4 percent are more likely to shop for sales more often, according to the NRF 2012 report.

          But surprisingly buyers started shopping months before the stereotypical start of the holiday season, black Friday weekend. The NRF released a chart (above) in its 2012 report showing that 41.1 percent of shoppers started working on their holiday shopping two to three months before November.
            However, one thing holiday shoppers do look forward to in the months of November and December are holiday sales. This year holiday sales rose to 4.1 percent, which is more than a percentage point lower than the last two years, according to this USA Today article. Meaning even with fewer sales American shoppers are still spending more. It is apparent from Deloitte’s 2012 Annual Holiday Survey that Americans feel the U.S. economy is gradually improving from the recession. In 2011, 50 percent of Americans felt the U.S. was still in a recession, according to the survey mentioned in this Huffington Post article. But in the 2012, this number decreased to only 37 percent of Americans feeling the U.S. was still in a recession. This is a good sign, but leaves the question of whether all American shoppers are spending more or if this increased spending is being done by a certain income bracket
Boston University students weigh in on their opinion about why they are or aren't spending more this holiday season.

           It has been shown that there is in fact stratification between income classes and increased spending this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America in this Huffington Post article,.  Only 11 percent of respondents who had an income under 25,000 dollars said they would spend more this holiday season. In comparison, 18 percent of the respondents with an income over 100,000 dollars said they would increase their holiday spending this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America. While the overall picture showed holiday spending increased this year, the reality that a gap between spenders and savers may be widening remains a daunting thought.

Here are some of the main shopping locations in Boston. Click on the Google map locations to learn more about what discounts and holiday festivities are offered there this holiday season.

View Holiday Shopping in Boston in a larger map


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