Christmas spending forecasts

It’s that time of year again. People are in the midst of their holiday shopping. For many businesses, this is a make-it-or-break-it time. North Carolina State University’s Dr. Mike Walden explains how economists think this holiday buying season will shape up.

“Economists are actually very optimistic about this year’s Christmas buying season. In fact, they think it’s going to be one of the best seasons in years. We’d have to go back to pre-recession. But, we certainly struggled with Christmas buying during the recession and obviously the slow recovery.

“But, right now with jobs up, with the pay of consumers up, and with lower gas prices, obviously that’s been a big event over the last couple of months. Economists, who previously thought that we would see Christmas sales maybe go up 3 percent this year compared to last year, now are saying that maybe we we’ll see a 4 to 5 percent increase. If that occurs that will be very, very good.

“Now, of course, we’re going to continue to have the dichotomy between brick-and-mortar stores where sales will go up much slower versus online buying. We’re still seeing online buying going up each year in double-digit rates.

“But when all the numbers are in – and they won’t be in until sometime at the beginning of the year – I think this will go down as a very good Christmas buying season.”

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