It looks like shoppers won’t be heading to the stores quite as quickly this holiday season compared to last year. This holiday sale season is expected to be one of the weakest in years, the consultant firm AlixPartners reported Wednesday after analyzing consumer spending trends over the past year.
The New York City based firm said the expected weak sales are a result of upper middle-class shoppers being scared by a fluctuating stock market and waiting until the last minute to shop, thinking they will get better deals, Reuters reported. Sales growth for this holiday season, which runs from about November to December, is expected to grow from 2.8 percent to 3.4 percent.
The expected growth is lower than the holiday sale average of the last five years, which is at about 3.9 percent. During last year’s holiday season, sales grew to 4.4 percent.
High income families to low income families are expected to spend less on the holidays this year. After seeing their stocks go up and down, high income spenders are also expected to not shop as much.
Noam Paransky, director of AlixPartners' retail practice, said that slow pay growth for middle income and low income families makes them focus on spending more conservatively. He said these families are trying to put any money they can into personal savings and not holidays.
"What we are seeing is that consumers' behavior this year in terms of increased retail sales is fairly muted," Paransky told Reuters. "A lot of the ingredients that drive retail revenue...aren’t there."
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Consumer sentiment has been decreasing since August. University of Michigan researchers found that consumer optimism was at about 85.7 percent, compared to August’s 91.9 percent. Researchers had expected September’s consumer sentiment to be around 91.2 percent.