Voters aren’t alone in wishing for an end to Trump vs. Clinton. Retailers — anticipating a postelection holiday shopping rush — are also looking forward to November 9th.
Not only are the election doldrums quashing the holiday spirit among consumers, but the barrage of political ads is eating up airtime retailers typically use to focus our minds on holiday shopping, says the National Retail Federation (NRF).
In a flash poll conducted by the NRF in mid-October, more than 25% of consumers surveyed said the election will impact their holiday spending plans. Another 43% said they’re being more cautious with their spending due to the uncertainty of the election season. That’s not what US retailers want to hear in the midst of the make-or-break holiday selling season.
Consumers plan to spend an average $935.58 this season, down from a record $952.58 last year, the NRF’s Holiday Spending Survey (conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics) found. The decline is the first following six consecutive years (including the 2012 presidential election cycle) of holiday spending growth since the depths of 2009. Still, 2016 will rank as the second-highest total spending on record, according to the survey.
“Once the election has passed, we anticipate consumers will pull themselves out of the election doldrums and into the holiday spirit,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. So retailers would do well to prepare for a postelection rush as the political and economic landscape comes into focus after November 8.
Of the $935.58 shoppers are projected to spend on the winter holidays, $588.90 will go toward gifts; $207.07 toward food, decorations, greeting cards, and the like; and the rest — $139.61 — to themselves. The 4% uptick in spending-on-self compared with last year may reflect the desire to reward ourselves for enduring this ugly and contentious race for the White House.
Alexandra Biesada shops everyday, whether she wants to or not, and pines for the days when it was strictly a recreational activity. She has covered the retail beat for Hoover’s since 2001. Follow her on Twitter.