News / Economy

Around the World, 2012 Holiday Shopping is Subdued

Around the World, 2012 Holiday Shopping Is Subduedi
December 25, 2012 12:50 AM
Holiday shoppers were out in force hoping to get last minute bargains for Christmas but early indications suggest they didn't spend as much as in previous years. Despite a slew of deep discounts - some retailers say 2012 has not been a great year. Around the world, shoppers appeared subdued - not sure about what their economies might bring them in the New Year. VOA's Mil Arcega has more.
Around the World, 2012 Holiday Shopping Is Subdued
Holiday shoppers were out in force hoping to get last minute bargains for Christmas but early indications suggest they didn't spend as much as in previous years.  Despite a slew of deep discounts - some retailers say 2012 has not been a great year.  Around the world, shoppers appeared subdued - not sure about what their economies might bring them in the New Year.  

At U.S. shopping centers, parking lots were full - as thousands of last minute shoppers descended into crowded malls.

But the big crowds mask larger concerns. Consumer confidence has fallen to a 6-month low, and retailers say shoppers don't seem to be spending as much.

Dana Mattioli covers retail trends at the Wall Street Journal. "All the retailers are in panic mode.  It hasn't been a great holiday season," she said.

But if flagging consumer confidence worries retailers, shoppers say they have other things on their minds.

In Greece, despite the festive decorations - the issue is not confidence but economic reality. After six years of recession, Greeks expect even tougher austerity measures in the New Year.  So while shoppers in Athens look at the brightly decorated shop windows, few carry shopping bags.

One Greek pensioner says, after rent and food, there's just no money left. "Nothing, the economic hardships are so great that we cannot afford to buy anything," said George Manikas.

In Spain, where unemployment is 26 percent, shop owners are dropping food prices to tempt consumers.  But Emilio Perez, a butcher, says customers have less money to spend.

"We are selling between 20 percent and 30 percent less than last year.  The purchasing power people had has been taken away from them, and we can all feel that very clearly," he said.

But in Ghana, where money is tight and inflation is 9.3 percent, some shoppers were more philosophical. "There is no money in the system as per se, yes but we wouldn't think too much about that, money or no money. Since we have life, we have to do something for our children and loved ones," said shopper Vida Afforo.

But American retailers who enjoyed a brisk start to the holiday shopping season last month - are not ready to give up.

Retail analyst Bill Martin says there's still one week of holiday shopping before the year ends. "Retailers are hoping that the consumers will come back and deliver those same strong results during this last weekend of the year," he said.

Worldwide, the bigger concern is whether American lawmakers are willing to drive the U.S. economy back into a recession. Despite the threat of economic shock from higher taxes and automatic spending cuts, neither political party appears willing to bend on a year end deadline for a budget deal.


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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Don Ake
December 26, 2012 7:32 AM
I did my part to increase the numbers! -

by: Dave Leong from: New York City
December 25, 2012 12:11 PM
One doesn't have to be a genius Merchant nor Miracle Worker to know why the Christmas Retail Season continues to be lackluster.
Even with more stuff to buy, store aisles crammed, Deptment Store "consolidations," and endless promotions, Holiday shopping will continue to nose dive. There are 3 reasons why it fails; And they have absolutely nothing to do with National or World Economies.

by: Joe from: USA
December 25, 2012 11:50 AM
You know what since I can remember keeping track (since the early 90's or so) the news media says basically the same thing every year in one form or another. humbug humbug they did not spend enough money woe is us....Its getting old and has along time ago become hard to take seriously. I guess if you look for bad results you can always find them. And unfortantely that is all modern news outlets care about is negative news since its the easy way to attract attention and garner readers.

by: Joe Oberman from: Providence
December 24, 2012 9:36 PM
Is money and profits all the news media care about? How much consumers spent for Christmas is soooo important, how about the reasons why... corporate employee lay offs, unemployed people who no longer are collecting and stopped looking for work. And, why do good people not hire any of those unemployed people seeking any kind of work, maybe because those good people (employers) are bias towards over qualified people. This is what our country has come to... apathy towards the unemployed.

Somethings terrible wrong when good people refuse to hire over qualified unemployed people. It use to be the news media would say over qualified people don't want those menial jobs. Are you kidding me?! Fact is... those good people (employers) are very afraid they might loose their jobs to someone over qualified. There's something terribly wrong when the most important thing is how much consumers are spending.

by: john nico from: world
December 24, 2012 9:28 PM
this is Good news.

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