10/25/2004

"Carbon Copy Christmas"

Consumers are dreading their Christmas shopping. Not because of lines, but because they do not know what to buy. There are no new, different or unique products being sold. Electronics and gadgets do well every year but apparel may take a dive.

Also, people do not want to shop for themselves because they cannot afford to. Consumers feel that if gas prices were lower they would be able to spend more for Christmas. Gas prices are up 30% from where they were last year at this time. An estimated $7 less per week will be spent over this holiday season.

Lower-income consumers will be affected most by the price of gas. "High-end shoppers" are less affected. Luxury items will still be bought. A senior retail analyst at Bernard Sands', Richard Hastings, feels that "consumer spending will see more of a marginal change rather than a substantial change."

Will gas prices really affect Christmas shopping? I don't think so. Christmas shopping always becomes a concern and people use gas prices this holiday season for their way out.

14 comments:

Taber Wolrab said...

I don't think gas price will really affect Christmas shopping. I agree that it is just a way out for people. It doesn't matter how much other products are, people almost always find a way to do their normal Christmas shopping. I think most consumers will still dread the Christmas lines as much this year and not just their income. Every year people say they will spend less on Christmas because the price of something else is higher, it never happens.

peter_parker said...

I agree. The average person already goes into debt for holiday shopping so spending more on gas probably won't have that big an effect on spending. People might also opt to do more of their shopping in less trips to conserve on gas. I think that Americans are spend-crazy during the holdiays and there isn't much that will change that.

Callie said...

Who knows, though? The article said that lower-income people will be most affected. I know I can't afford to spend that much on Christmas this year. I have to spend my money on gas just to get home. Hopefully that's a gift in itself. I agree that rising prices in gas alone won't affect Christmas spending, but it's not just gasoline prices that are being raised. I know that all of our bills are going up.

Julie said...

Rising gas prices may not affect Christmas shopping, but that may be because people will make sacrifices somewhere else. For example, I'll still probably spend the same amount on Christmas but I may start spending less on groceries, take fewer trips to St. George, etc. to compensate for the extra money I'm spending on gas.

miles said...

I agree that the gas increase may have an effect on low-income families. But for the rest, I think that most will make a sacrifice so that they can have a decent Christmas. I think that Christmas is such a big deal for most people that they are willing to make sacrifices or deal with problems such as a gas increase.

Bryce Larkin said...

I can completely see that high gas prices could make buyers buy fewer goods for Christmas. I don't think it is a way out, I really believe since the gas prices are higher, there is less money to spend on shopping. On the other hand, people will always buy gifts for Christmas. I just believe there will be less money spent.

Joe said...

I also believe that gas prices wont affect christmas. People will be having christmas no matter the circumstances. I believe that this christmas will probably be the highest profitable christmas for most businesses.

Bruce Banner said...

I think Christmas shopping will be down a little because of high oil prices. On the other hand maybe consumer will still spend the same but get themselves more into debt because highter oil prices.

Bryce Larkin said...

Joe, I understand that Christmas will happen anyways even if gas prices are high. But if people are spending up to 7 percent more on gas for their cars and also to heat their homes, that is less money to spend on presents for Christmas.

natty said...

What about online Christmas shopping? I know that I have done more online purchasing for Christmas because then I don't have to brave the crowds and the prices are at least comparable, if not better. The price of gas affects pretty much everything indirectly, but I still think people will find a way to spend what they want on Christmas.

Janet said...

Every year people talk about how stressful Christmas shopping is. I agree with Julie in that we will still spend the same amount on Christmas. People will spend less in other areas. More people will possibly carpool down to St. George to go Christmas shopping. Some might use the internet instead like jasmine said. People are just using gas prices as an excuse right now.

John West said...

The majority of American people are going to celebrate Christmas as they do every year: large and with much debt accumulated. Debt doesn't matter until that one day in January that they walk to the mailbox and find that in-fact the credit card companies do want their money back. Gas will affect middle to lower income families in some ways. Just the mental thought of higher gas prices will place a thought in their minds that maybe they should hold back a little this year. But the election will be behind us, and we can again get along with our lives. This will give the American public some added peace of mind.

Maudi said...

Those who want to go shopping will go shopping regardless of how they get there. I think that consumer shopping will stay at the same rate that it was last year. I can truly attest to this as there were plenty of folks out and about at 6 am shopping this year for Christmas gifts, and it did seem to me that most of them came in a vehicle that was powered by gas. They might car pool a bit more then previous years, but sales will stay the same. Who doesn't want a new electronic gadget this year anyways??

Dr. Tufte said...

The drift of what most of you are saying is that the elasticity of christmas purchases with respect to gas prices is pretty low. That seems correct to me.