2011 Holiday Shopping Outlook: A Bit More Spending, But Fewer Customers

Consumers will spend a bit more this holiday shopping season, but there will be fewer of them in stores, predicts research firm ShopperTrak, which describes itself as "the world's largest provider of retail foot traffic counting, managed services and business analytics." The company forecasts that national retail sales will rise 3% during November and December compared to the year before, but foot traffic will fall 2.2%.

Holiday sales generally account for about one-fifth of overall annual revenue for retail stores, so the outcome of the season can be the difference between a profitable year and an unprofitable one. "The persistently high unemployment and fuel rates, along with consumers' conservative purchasing attitudes, will affect spending this holiday season more than in recent years," said ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin. "Every shopper in a store will be more valuable than last year, and retail stores should be ready to convert their holiday shoppers into sales."

ShopperTrak expects apparel and accessory sales to rise 2.7%. The firm said apparel sellers may have to drop prices to drive sales -- which, of course, can hurt profitability nearly as much as slow sales. The cost of clothing inventory has been driven higher by increased costs of commodities such as cotton.

With few new "blockbuster" products coming out from the consumer electronics industry this season, its sales gains are expected to be weaker than the overall trend. ShopperTrak predicts the Electronics and Appliance sector's sales will rise by 1.2% year-over-year.

Retailers and the industry as a whole battled for profitability in 2008 and 2009, often without much success. Then came 2010, a slight recovery year. If ShopperTrak's prediction bears out, 2011 will be follow suit, but retailers will be working harder for every sale, and every shopper.

ShopperTrak measures foot traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes the data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate.

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Welcome Vic!

It's simple. The rich got richer so they'll be spending more money. The poor got poorer so they won't be shopping. Simple economics.

September 24 2011 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wont be one of the shoppers, I have enough already and so does the rest of my family, if we buy anything for each other is some small item usually food or drink. Christmas just isnt like it used to be with tons of gifts we all grew up and just dont need any more stuff. The days of heading to the mall and wandering around credit cards ready just to have something to give someone who doesnt need anything are over. Still can afford it, just over the greed experience I guess.

September 23 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

christmas used to be for everyone in this country. what do we have now?. we have people with nothing, people using credit cards, we buy foreign made goods in stores, so now we pretend to have christmas.

September 23 2011 at 10:54 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Are you kidding with this? Few customers and shopping up? I can afford to go out and do some shopping but why would I? I don't need a damn thing nor does anyone else I know or would buy for..in these lean times if I go shopping it will be to make a donation in cash to a group that WILL NOT be buying stuff but paying people's bills like Power, water and rent etc..I won't even bother putting up a tree..how the rest of my fellow HP ers feel I have no idea.

September 23 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Wowee. Lets get a look at all those Christmas & Chanukkah presents our UPPER CLASS congressmen are buying for their bankster-insurer pals, and vice-versa. What might $400K net, net plus $173K + benefits & staff buy, or the $400mil+ some congressmen have? No LOW CLASS (formerly middle class) Voters will be at Tiffany's or NM (Needless Markup) this year, ay? Or at Vail/Aspen, or in those swanky private islands in the rising sun? Class? Aristocracy? Call them "Lord" & "Lady"? Free market economy & opportunity, or insider bankster-insurers financially engorging themselves at the Bernake-FED troughs, and telling all of us they got there by themselves the hard way? Where did America go?

September 22 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

With gasoline prices this high Santa going to have to layoff plenty of elves........ I won't be buying alot for the Christmas season......

September 22 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


September 22 2011 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply