retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Retail Forward's Monthly Shopper update Survey, looking at the upcoming holiday shopping season, suggests that:

  • Holiday retail spending will show a modest improvement over last year, with an increase of 3.5 percent to four percent compared to last year
  • .

  • Overall, shoppers plan to spend an average of $698 on holiday gifts this year. For 31 percent of shoppers, this will be less than what they spent last year. A notably smaller percent of shoppers (20 percent) say they will spend more this year than last.

  • About half of all households (49 percent) are more concerned this year than last about finding the lowest prices for their holiday gifts.

  • Nearly half (45 percent) plan to spend more of their holiday gift budget this year than they did last year at stores that focus on low prices (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s).

  • Generally speaking, higher income shoppers (more than $100,000 per year) are more confident than people making less money, and both the amounts that these respective groups plan to spend and where they will spend that money are reflected by their greater or lesser confidence. However, even higher income shoppers told Retail Forward that they want to get more bang for their buck this holiday season.

KC's View:
We think these figures suggest a cautious optimism on the part of many American shoppers…and that seems eminently sensible in such an unsettled time.

It's funny. You'll see below in the Your Views section that we caught some grief for our pessimism about the nation's current economic state. Actually, pessimism is the wrong word. We were just trying to point out that the current revival seems vulnerable to all sorts of influences over which we have very little control.

We were hardly the only one. There were numerous stories yesterday pointing out how some analysts and experts (neither of which we claim to be) believed that the outlook for this coming holiday season is mixed at best.

This doesn’t strike us as doomsaying. It strikes us as being realistic.