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.


You May Like

Russia's 'V-Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

Critics say Soviet-style display of power, nationalism don't recognize tragic scars of warfare that still influence politics, fighting in Ukraine More

Tensions Simmer in Hong Kong in Lead Up to Vote

Many Hong Kong citizen say if the reform plan will be a step back for the pro-democracy movement if passed More

Multimedia Obama Calls for New Commitment to Help Minority Youths Succeed

President introduces My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, foundation supporting better education and job prospects More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalistsi
May 04, 2015 3:32 PM
Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.