News / Economy

    Around the World, 2012 Holiday Shopping is Subdued

    Around the World, 2012 Holiday Shopping Is Subduedi
    X
    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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Don Ake
    December 26, 2012 7:32 AM
    I did my part to increase the numbers! - http://akespains.blogspot.com/2012/12/shopping-in-winter-wonderland.html

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8899
    JPY
    USD
    114.87
    GBP
    USD
    0.6937
    CAD
    USD
    1.3904
    INR
    USD
    68.044

    Rates may not be current.