How The Present Economic Situation Influences Holiday Shopping

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By Oscar Calvete

American's confidence in the overall U. S. Economy is shaky. A recent Gallup poll showed eight in ten people believe the country is in a second recession. The current economic climate influences consumer's spending habits. And this will naturally impact their holiday spending during the biggest shopping season of the year.

Promotional incentives are used by retailers for the likelihood that once the shoppers are inside, they will buy more. This is true for both brick-and-mortar stores and for websites, and not just during the holidays. Given that retail merchants depend on the holiday season to make a substantial percentage of their profits, they are using ever more creative ways to entice customers to buy.

Holiday shoppers have already begun taking advantage of early sales, and special deals are available throughout the ever expanding season. Although some consumers shun them, a great number of people still look forward to the excitement of the Black Friday bargains. Stores open earlier every year.

A large percentage of shoppers use the internet to find good deals, to compare sales prices, and to figure out what they want to buy. E-retail is popular for with a number of customers. It's easier and more convenient in several ways.

It takes less time and no gasoline to compare prices and make purchases online. Receipts are more easily organized and harder to lose. And online stores are available 24 hours a day. Gifts can be shipped directly to the recipients, eliminating trips to the Post Office.

Some shoppers would not have access to certain stores without the internet. And merchandise is sometimes limited in the brick-and-mortar stores in their vicinity. There is always a danger of overspending on the internet, though. Urgent offers can be persuasive. Shopping in the store takes more time but also lends more time to considerate buying. Of course, attractive store displays can hold the same risk.

The convenience of e-commerce can be risky for overspending, though. Since shopping in a physical store takes more time, it also gives more opportunity to think critically about the purchase. Impulse buying can be more tempting on the internet with targeted "limited time" offers just because it is so quick and easy.

Keeping budgets in mind, many people are paring down their gift lists and avoiding frivolous purchases. Studies show shoppers generally spend 20 to 40 percent more with a credit card than with cash. Most likely this means more purchases will be made with cash to avoid both potential extravagance and credit card debt. In these current economic times, holiday spenders are on the lookout for more innovative ways to save money.

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