Holiday Sales Predictions Good Despite Fiscal Cliff

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Florida Retailers are expecting a slightly better holiday shopping season than last year’s. They’re predicting a 5.2 percent increase in sales. As Whitney Ray tells us, the prediction comes as gridlock in Washington moves the country closer to the fiscal cliff and threatens to raise taxes on Florida families.

Karen Long and her granddaughter Ayana are perusing the mall in search of Christmas presents.

“I think she is going to cost me a little bit, but I’m still going to try and stay within a budget for sure,” said Long.

Donna Mobley saved all year to buy gifts for her family.

“I won’t spend as much because right now I budget for things that they need verses what they want,” said Mobley.

The Great Recession has changed people’s shopping habits. The trend has been to spend less, but this year retailers say people are more optimistic about the economy.

“Americans are feeling more confident about their financial situations,” said Rick McAllister, president of the Florida Retail Federation.

The Florida Retail Federation is predicting a 5.2 percent increase in holiday shopping. They say the average shopper will spend 750 dollars on gifts, up 10 bucks from a year ago.

The prediction comes as gridlock in Washington brings the country closer to the fiscal cliff. If Congress and the President can’t reach a deal by the end of the year, Florida families could see their taxes increase by 35-hundred dollars.

But shoppers say it’s too early to be worried.

“Not before Christmas, we’ll see what happens after Christmas,” said Long.

And retailers have this message for Washington.

“What a great Christmas present for all the citizen of American, if they could get together and solve this problem now,” said McAllister.

While consumer confidence seems unphased by the looming crisis, reaching a deal sooner than later can solidify the mood. Democrats are pushing for eliminating tax breaks for families making over 250-thousand dollars a year. Republicans want cuts to entitlements. President Barack Obama will meet with House Speaker John Boehner tomorrow to begin the negotiations.


AAA Release: Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend More on Gifts this Year

The Majority of Shoppers Plan to Shop Online or at Discount Stores this Holiday Season, according to AAA’s Consumer Pulse™ Survey.

Holiday shoppers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are getting an early start this year and are ready to spend more money on gifts. More than half of holiday shoppers (51%) have already started buying gifts, compared to 46 percent this time last year, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ Holiday Shopping survey. Click here to view full survey and year-over-year comparisons from 2009 to 2012.

While the majority of consumers (62%) plan to spend the same amount of money on presents as last year, 14 percent of them plan to spend more money, a 40 percent increase from 2011. More than half of holiday shoppers (57%) plan to spend between $251 and $1,000 on gifts, while one in four (23%) plan to spend up to $250, according to the AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey.

Although consumers plan to spend more money this year, more than two in five shoppers (43%) plan to buy more gifts on sale. Nearly three in four will shop at discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target (73%), or plan to shop on the internet at sites like eBay and Amazon.com (72%).

People plan to forgo crowded stores this year as well, with more than half of consumers (58%) planning to shop during Cyber Monday. Meanwhile, there’s a 10 percent decline in people who plan to shop on Black Friday for a total of 46 percent of shoppers.

“In this uncertain economic environment, it’s encouraging to see that more people intend to spend more money on gifts,” said Belinda Dabrowski, managing director, AAA Partnership Development, The Auto Club Group. “But, people are still looking for sales and ways to stretch their dollar and all it takes is a little bit of research and knowing what means of savings are already at your fingertips.

Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping:

Take advantage of retail or online discounts and check with any clubs or associations like AAA to see if discounts and rewards are available. AAA members saved more than $1.5 billion in 2011. Members averaged $102 in annual savings.
When shopping online, look for special offers or dates from retailers when free shipping may be available.
Check store circulars for in-store sales or coupons. Note that many retailers will honor sale prices if items were purchased the week before they went on sale.
Sort through junk mail since many retailers send bonus coupons and gift cards in the mail during the holidays.
Consider taking one retailer’s circular to another retailer and ask for competitive pricing.
If you want to purchase an item in a store, but forgot the coupon, ask if you can bring the coupon back for the adjusted price.
Save this holiday season by using the benefits of one of the largest member discount programs in the world. AAA’s Show Your Card & Save® program provides instant discounts at retail locations in North American including Payless ShoeSource®, Premium Outlets such as Gap Outlet as well as with popular online retailers through AAA.com like Target.com, Shoes.com, Dell and more. AAA members in Florida, Georgia, and the western two-thirds of Tennessee can also earn AAA Dollars when shopping at over 100 online retailers through AAA.com like Walmart.com and Apple-iTunes. Visit AAA.com/Save for a complete list of retailers and AAA Discount & Dollars offers.

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) from October 25 – 27, 2012. A total of 629 residents completed the survey, with 584 planning to purchase gifts during the 2012 holiday season. Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.


Florida Retail Federation Release: Florida Retail Federation Forecasts 5.2% Boost in Consumer Shopping, More Seasonal Job Opportunities and $58 Billion for Florida’s Economy

This holiday season, shoppers will be rushing home with more treasures than in recent years past. During November and December, Florida retailers can expect 12 shopping trends to make the season bright, including a 5.2 percent increase in consumer sales since last year, according to the Florida Retail Federation (FRF).

Today, FRF released its annual holiday shopping forecast, presenting a holly jolly outlook as compared to previous years since the economic downturn. The busy and important holiday shopping season, which can account for 20 to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales, is predicted to inject $58 billion into Florida’s economy — up from $55 billion in 2011.

“We’re expecting Florida retailers to have a strong holiday season. Shoppers in Florida are in a buying mood, and that’s good news for the whole economy,” said FRF president and CEO Rick McAllister. “Florida retailers will create about 42,000 seasonal jobs this year to handle the crowds, and many of those jobs will become permanent.”

The 12 trends for the 2012 holiday season in Florida are:

1. The economy continues to grow, and total holiday sales projections bring good tidings. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the American economy is growing faster than expected with increases in the gross domestic product partly characterized by an uptick in personal consumption. Florida will see a 5.2 percent jump in holiday spending from $55 billion in 2011 to $58 billion this year.

2. E-commerce is at an all-time high. Online shopping continues to grow, and e-commerce sales are expected to be about 15 percent higher than last year.

About 5 percent of all retail sales are now online, so Florida shoppers will be spending at least $2.9 billion on holiday shopping online this year (5 percent of $58 billion).

3. Individual consumer spending has risen. Across the U.S., the average consumer is expected to spend about $750 dollars on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this season, compared to $740.57 in 2011.

4. Holiday shopping sparks a season of job growth. Job seekers can expect plenty of seasonal opportunities as Florida retailers expect to hire 42,000 people this holiday season, which is a significant increase over last year.

5. Hot holiday items will appear on most wish lists as the top consumer gifts. Many shoppers will be looking to buy gift cards, electronics, clothing, housewares and toys this year.

6. Shoppers won’t feel so guilty buying for themselves. Pent-up demand will drive shoppers to spend extra money on discretionary items and self-gifts. Six in 10 holiday shoppers are planning to spend $139.92 on themselves.

7. Consumer confidence reflects economic cheer. The University of Florida recently released a survey showing consumer confidence in Florida remains at a five-year, post-recession high.

8. Holiday shopping has a merry impact on retailers. The holiday season can account for anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales.

9. Most consumers have already begun their shopping. November accounts for 39 percent of holiday sales, while the first two weeks of December hold 16.2 percent of sales. Last minute shoppers make up 3.5 percent of sales.

10. There will be more days to shop. With Thanksgiving coming earlier this year, consumers can enjoy a longer holiday shopping season with 32 days to spend before Christmas Day.

11. December 24th is the busiest shopping day of the year. Despite the dispersion of sales over the holiday season, Christmas Eve remains the busiest shopping day of the year. With it falling on a Monday, retailers will see a greater flurry of sales during the three-day weekend before Christmas.

12. Consumers will shop for holiday deals using technology. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half (51.8 percent) of consumers will shop online this holiday season. Retailers are launching smart phone apps and using social media to guide shoppers to their deals.

“There will be plenty of good deals, and here’s my advice: if you see something you want, buy it early and don’t try to wait for a better deal,” McAllister said. “Many retailers are managing their inventories tighter, and that means if you wait until the night before Christmas, you might find your special gift is not there.”

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The Florida Retail Federation is a statewide trade association representing an industry that contributes 75 percent of Florida’s gross domestic product. Retailing is Florida’s second largest industry. Florida retailers pay more than $33 billion in wages annually, provide one out of every five jobs in the state, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales and retail-related taxes for Florida’s government each year.


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