Will consumers' expectations about a slightly downcast holiday shopping season turn into reality? With the Thanksgiving holiday over, shoppers are descending into stores today to find the best deals as the busiest time of the year kicks off for retailers.
In the previous weeks and months, surveys and reports have painted a slightly depressed picture of this year's shopping season for consumers. The warning signs? Falling home sales and home prices along with rising energy costs.
A pair recent polls of consumers â€“ who account for 70 percent of all economic activity -- show that they are likely to spend less this holiday season, with the idea that a recession is very or somewhat likely in the heads of a majority.
The percentage of people who said they will spend a little or a lot less for the Holidays this year is 38.8 percent, up from 31.1 percent last month, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released this week, with 42.3 percent will spend the same and 10.7 percent will spend a little or a lot more.
The possibility of a recession in the economy was very likely or somewhat likely for 60 percent of consumers according to the Nov. 1-4 Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
Consumer spending grew at an annual rate of 3 percent from July to September but is expected to fall by half , according to economists
As crude oil prices approach $100, consumers could see gasoline prices pushing past their all-time high average of $3.22 per galon. Gas prices rose 27 cents in the last month.While the price of gasoline is still relatively low, consumers will be harder hit when they travel on airlines. Ticket prices were up by $20 for round trip tickets at American Airlines last month.