The day after Christmas, media reports said that the holiday spending was low, quoting figures coming from Mastercard Advisors SpendingPulse that indicated sales had increased only .7 percent in 2012, well below expectations. Among the reasons: fiscal cliff talks, Hurricane Sandy, and nationwide sadness over the massacre in Newtown, CT. But it turns out that analysis may have been a little premature.
Upon further reflection, it looks like the figures actually exceeded expectations. In fact, 17 retailers that Thomson Reuters keeps an eye on say sales at stores open at least a year are up 4.5 percent, higher than the anticipated 3.3 percent. Discounts did the trick, The New York Times says, but it could impact the bottom line for the whole quarter. The numbers taken into account cover everything from Macy’s to Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and drugstores.
“An analysis of weekly online holiday spending totals demonstrates clearly how spending growth softened during the three most important spending weeks of the holiday season,” comScore reports, referring to the three weeks before Christmas Day. Despite Cyber Monday, online sales didn’t live up to retailer hopes.
Whether the number is up by a little or a lot, the most important thing is not to overspend. The numbers indicate that the economy remains on shaky ground. VentureBeat reports that laptop sales tanked, particularly Microsoft machines, which saw an 11 percent drop. Tablets and smartphones are to blame. Meanwhile, gas prices are staying low… so far.
Some things this year are likely going to go up in price, so if you did take advantage of those discounts, it means you’ll have a little extra money for other necessities that will cost more.