When consumer confidence is up around the holidays, spending is up, and retailers are happy. So, with less than a week left before both Hanukkah and Christmas begin, how are things going?
Experts say the tracking is better than expected.
Earlier this fall, the retail market was expected to have a favorable holiday shopping season, according to economic indicators. Cyber Monday proved to be fruitful, setting records of clicking past the $3.45 billion mark — more than a 12 percent increase over last year. Black Friday exceeded $3 billion in online sales alone with $1 billion coming from mobile revenue.
The Consumer Confidence Index, which measures optimism of the U.S. economy, increased to 107.1 in November, from 100.8 in October — a nine-year high. As a result, consumers are spending more and anticipating taking on more debt this holiday. It’s an improvement over last year, and retailers are enjoying the benefits.
As for what this means for 2017 and what consumer spending will look like, experts say there is something lucky about this coming year.
According to Forbes and other economics experts, the indicators point to specific reasons stemming from 2016, especially in its last few months.
The election, for one, is something that has turned out to improve consumer optimism. Experts say that, despite what some may have projected for the preliminary results, consumer sentiment soared to the highest level since Jan. 2015. In fact, consumers are just under 6 percent more optimistic as they look ahead to 2017 than they were heading into the current year.
And consumers aren’t the only optimistic group. Businesses are also feeling the positive vibes. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has been climbing to its highest level since last year. Ultimately, if businesses are more optimistic, they’ll hire more and bump up wages, which allow consumers to make more and higher purchases.
This fall, disposable personal income proved to hit a few percentage points higher than the same amount this time last year. It’s important to note that the employment stats have changed quite a bit over the last five years. Experts say there are 1.3 unemployed people per job posting now, while, in 2009, there were nearly seven for each post. This translates to more competition and higher wages.
That seven at the end of 2017 could indeed be a lucky one. We’ll just have to see.