Numbers May Reflect Change In Shopping Patterns Rather Than Drop In Holiday Spending
New data released by the National Retail
Federation shows that consumer spending on Thanksgiving and the following three
days was $50.9 billion this year, down from $57.4 billion in 2013. In addition,
the number of shoppers making purchases also fell.
While the sales
drop is being viewed by some as a sign for concern, the general feeling in the
media and among experts is that it is more reflective of a change in consumer
and retailer behavior. Compared to previous years, retailers began offering
major deals well before Thanksgiving, while “Cyber Monday” is expected to be
much larger this year than in the past. Overall, this supports the idea that
America’s consumers are spreading out their holiday spending over a wider
period of time, rather than concentrating it around “Black Friday.” In
addition, some are speculating that the wide array of sales being offered by
retailers has convinced consumers that they will continue, and potentially
improve, as December progresses, further spreading out holiday spending.
What This Means For Small Business:
Holiday sales are key for small businesses, and can often be make-or-break for
them. While the early sales drop is disconcerting, it may not ultimately
reflect weak holiday spending this year.