Black Friday, Cyber-Moday, US Economy, Recession & What it May Mean!

Real Estate Agent with Port Washington Properties

The preliminary figures have been released regarding Black Friday, and depending on how you wish to view it, the numbers are either bad news, so-so news, or good news. Apparently more Americans purchased on Black Friday, but their average spending was down about 5-10% for the day, and the total retail sales were either flat, or slightly lower. Since today is so-called Cyber-Monday, we do not know yet what these numbers will show, but more retailers are offering Cyber-Monday sales than ever before!
So, what does that mean? Well, the good news is, that despite the ongoing recession, despite the high joblessness rate, despite the credit tightening (many of the larger banks have tightened, eliminated, reduced credit lines, and increased credit card interest rates charged, while changing their installment payment features, thus requiring higher minimum payments), despite the fact that merchants are being quite conservative about inventory-on-hand, more Americans are still buying gifts, and the total spent has not been reduced significantly. Also, many retailers began their promotions early or are stretching them out over a longer period of time, which makes the Black Friday numbers even more positive! Granted last year's holiday season was not a robust one for retailers, but considering the cost-saving measures many companies have implemented, I feel the overall indicators are positive ones.
I am guessing that the Cyber-Monday results will either parallel the stores, or be slightly better than the store results. These numbers might be slightly skewed also because of many sites stretching this sale period out over a longer period of time. I am of the belief that there will be a higher than usual number of last-minute shoppers this holiday season, but that retailers will have to be creative as well as use discounting to attract more shoppers. I also feel that consumers will still purchase for the holidays, but that the average spending per shopper will be somewhat lower than in the past.
Since many manufacturers are suffering like retailers and consumers, many manufacturers are offering discounts and/ or incentives to retailers at a much greater rate this season than in the past. That is also a factor in the lower consumer purchasing averages.
Having gone to a few stores, malls, and warehouse clubs both on Black Friday as well as on Saturday, it is obvious that this season is being kinder to some stores than others, and to some malls than others. On Black Friday, WalMart was packed for the Early Bird sales, butr much quieter the rest of the day. The store Friday afternoon looked like it must have been "packed and ransacked" in the morning, but was simply messy and not fully re-stocked on Friday afternoon. The warehouse clubs seemed to be doing business as usual on Friday! On Saturday, I went to two different malls, and while one mall seemed very quiet, the other was very busy. Some stores were obviously much busier than others. Yet, for example, the Apple Store at one mall seemed relatively quiet, while at the other mall was busy.
We need to start adopting the "half-full" instead of "half-empty" philosophy, or this recession will stretch out and linger longer than it would on its own. All too often, too many of the so-called "experts" analyze each piece of data independently, without trying to understand some of the many causes. Daily discussions of the prices of gold, oil, and the stock indexes. are as misguided as people looking for "quick kills" in purchasing stocks rather than long-term outlooks. Historically, investors who use "dollar-cost averaging" have out-performed most others, because they do not fall victim to normal and abnormal market swings. We all need to "sit back and chill out" and look at things through a broader window, and figure out the best long-term strategies.
Let's remember that when George Bush became President he inherited a budget surplus. By the time he left office eight years later, instead of a surplus there was a $400 Billion plus deficit. A little more than ten months after President Obama took office, the US deficit now exceeds $1.4 Trillion. We need to understand that deficit financing has long-term impacts and ramifications, and the US cannot simply keep spending without a plan for repaying it. That is why our dollar is so weak, even though the recession is a world-wide challenge, not just an American one.
Weak housimg markets, high foreclosure rates, high joblessness rates, etc., cannot and are not balanced out solely by spending and low interest rates. America must reconfigure our economy to make it stronger and more productive! We need to get people back to work, and keep them working. That should be the major thrust of our government's activities now-- on the Federal, State and Local Levels. Demand that from your government leaders!



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Comments (1)

Bonner Thomason
Keller Williams Realty - Kernersville, NC
CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Seems to all go back to JOBS, not just work or stimulus.


Nov 30, 2009 02:10 AM