Guess What Kids? You Ain't Getting $@%* For Christmas

A new Reuters polls says that shoppers will be cutting back on gift-buying this holiday season due to, you know, being broke. The poll found that there are six times as many shoppers planning to cut back than there are consumers who are planning to spend more than last year. The pollster in charge called these results “staggeringly bad.”

From Reuters:

“This a staggeringly bad number,” said pollster John Zogby, referring to the number of people who said they would spend the same amount on gifts this year. He noted that with inflation, even flat sales means retailers won’t be making as much.

“You’re still going to have people standing in line at three in the morning at Wal-Mart, but the lines may be thinner this year” on Black Friday, he said, referring to the day after Thanksgiving in late November that kicks off the holiday sales season with a barrage of promotions.

Oh well. You’d have shot your eye out anyway.

Shoppers to cut back holiday gifts [Reuters]

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  1. Bladefist says:

    We did this last year, and sales hit record heights. I estimate it does again.

    • Sudonum says:

      @Bladefist:
      Do you have a cite for that assertion? Because the first one I found states the opposite, even though it is from the despised NY Times:
      [www.nytimes.com]
      I did find another cite with this quote:
      “Total sales gains from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve were a nominal gain of 3.6%, according to data gathered by MasterCard’s SpendingPulse. Taking apart that data, we find that Real sales showed an actual 0.0% gain — or worse — over 2006 levels.”
      [bigpicture.typepad.com]
      That other liberal bastion, the Washington Post had this to say:
      “Holiday Spending Growth at 5 Year Low”
      [www.washingtonpost.com]
      So what “record heights” are you referring to?
      I couldn’t find anything on the subject from Fox News.

      • Garbanzo says:

        @Sudonum: The Washington Post article says that the year-over-year growth was at a 5-year low. Even if the growth rate is at a low point, sales could be at a record high. In fact, until the growth rate actually goes negative, each year’s sales will be at a record high.

        Year after year it irritates me when merchants talk about what a terrible holiday season they’re having because their rate of growth is less than in previous years. The headlines frequently say “Worse season in N years” when what they mean is, “Highest sales ever, but lowest growth rate in N years.”

        How do you think your boss would react if you started bitching and moaning about your “worst pay ever” because this year you only got a 3% raise while in past years you got 4 or 5%?

        • Sudonum says:

          @Garbanzo:
          I concede that both the WaPo and NYT articles stated that there was growth of 3.6%.

          However if you read the second posting you’d note some more sobering statistics, such as:
          “Excluding just the gas purchases alone, and holiday sales rose a lackluster 2.4%. If we back out supermarkets, other food plus restaurants (and their price increases), then (my ballpark estimate) sales rose approximately ~2% — or a bit below the core rate of inflation. In other words, Real Sales may have reflected an actual loss over last year. This was despite the longer holiday shopping season.”

          My point was that Bladefist stated that it was “record heights” and was not. If you are going to make such a bold assertion back it up with a citation. If not keep your mouth shut and talk about things you actually know about or can prove.

  2. howie_in_az says:

    But so many companies get early Christmas gifts from the government, which ends up coming out of our tax money! I fully expect to see Toys-R-Us receive a government bail out.

    err, I mean, ‘government loan’.

  3. Jonbo298 says:

    So this could mean even cheaper Black Friday or beyond deals this ‘Holiday’ season? I guess I better save up now and hope a decent laptop comes extremely cheap on BF or after.

  4. MercuryPDX says:

  5. Starfury says:

    This year we are spending a LOT less than last year and the year before.

    And this time I mean it!

    Seriously: We remodeled our kitchen and need to refill the savings account. Santa’s not brining any big gifts this year for the kids and the family isn’t getting much either. I’m also enforcing a cash only Xmas gift system. If you buy a gift pay cash. If you charge, money goes from envelope to bank to pay the bill. Some people may just get a card.

  6. chauncy that billups says:

    I’ll certainly be spending more this year.

  7. junip says:

    I have to spend over a grand just to fly home this christmas. I’ve been working with my mother to communicate a $20 limit on gifts this year since I know everyone is broke, and I don’t want to spend the rest of the year paying off my xmas expenses on my credit card. The $20 limit was reached after some compromising, because at first I asked that we just not do gifts at all, and just enjoy spending time together. (there are no more small children in my family)
    Also, shipping gifts home is expensive, and you can’t get a bag and check em now, damn airlines. If you have to travel like me, suggest the $20 limit to your family, or ask that they give you gift cards.

  8. humphrmi says:

    I spent thousands last year, and I will be spending nearly nil this year. Is that staggering enough?

    (Sorry to any of my friends and relatives who may be reading this…)

  9. IamTCM says:

    This is a great time to do a secret santa

  10. JPinCLE says:

    I’m in the gift business, and executive management (you know, the people who aren’t feeling the hit) aren’t taking “bad economy” as an excuse this holiday season.

    Imagine Bryan Doyle Murray in Christmas Vacation at the end of a 70′ conference table making it clear to all the middle-management schmucks (me) that “our competitors can use the economy excuse, but not US!”

    So, yeah… I’m just wondering exactly whose shit is going to hit whose fan, but I’ve got a good idea of WHEN it’s going to happen.

  11. ViperBorg says:

    This is a great time to not deal with the in-laws!
    Or the rest of your family for that matter.

    I’m not buying you presents, sod off.

  12. Landru says:

    The few presents that I’m buying will be gold ingots.

  13. Eilonwynn says:

    I’m actually kind of glad for this. I have some family members who no matter what get me something they think I should have, rather than something I want, and then I have to get rid of it (charity, regifting, and the occasional “out in a field with matches”

  14. lovelyivy says:

    The complete meltdown of the American financial system just makes life that much more unpredictable for retailers…

    I, for one, will probably spend more because I’m living abroad and everyone wants me to send them a souvenir, whereas usually we don’t really do gifts for adults.

  15. I didn’t want to give anything to my in-laws anyway, bad economy or not.

  16. zegota says:

    It’s worth mentioning that Zogby is a terrible pollster.

  17. justcatie says:

    my kids will still get the same xmas, because we have strict spending limits that just come from the “omg I have 4 kids” mindset and we hate the gimme gimme attitude some kids have and try to give our kids a more realistic view of gift getting.

    however, office secret santa things, etc are nixed. as well is the hated/dreaded christmas card list. How I hate sending out those damn things. This alone will save me major moola since the post office is running such a racket on stamps.

  18. nagumi says:

    Last year I got my parents a nice discount lunch.

    This year I got them $350 Paul McCartney tickets and an imported bottle of Japanese plum wine (my mom’s favorite which so far she’s only had in restaurants).

    Times are good here in Israel :)

    • nagumi says:

      @nagumi: BTW, that’s for their birthdays not xmas. We’re jewish. Rosh HaShanah ftw.

      • nagumi says:

        @nagumi: Actually, I should explain. The weak dollar (and a strong shekel, our currency) has led to a good economy. Things are very slightly worse than last year in the local markets (the TASE, the tel aviv stock exchange is lower certainly) and high gas and food prices suck, and rent is up, but altogether things are fine.

        In the meantime my business has finally taken off bigtime and I’m making significantly above average income levels. 2 years of hard work are finally paying off. 2 year ago I was living month to month on disability, rarely leaving the house and worrying about the price of a can of coke.

        • lovelyivy says:

          @nagumi: I hear you.

          The weak dollar is responsible for my current work abroad (consulting). It’s a lot more feasible for foreign clients to use our services now, although with all the ripples going through foreign markets, we’ll see what happens with that. As a result I get an amazing client, six months in Paris and a raise.

          Of course, the market performance here could tank too and then I’d be on a plane home.

  19. mpacuk says:

    I’ll be giving out Lehman Stock this year.

  20. balthisar says:

    Considering I’m already a cheap bastard, I expect to spend more this year just due to inflation. No real way to cut back on quantities, and who wants to receive gifts from Wal-Mart?

  21. RandomHookup says:

    I became agnostic just to eliminate Xmas giving.

  22. grumpymo says:

    Ah, mid-September and the first yearly report of a bad Christmas Shopping Season has already come out. It seems like these reports come out earlier and earlier EACH YEAR! I wonder when the first reports of a bad season will come out before the first store decorations?

  23. Etoiles says:

    I think the worst of it is that all of the charities that usually get Christmastime donations are (a) not going to get the donations they need, and (b) are going to be seeing much more need.

  24. B says:

    Don’t cut back on presents, just set the bar for being good impossibly high. That way when the stockings are empty, tell the kids it’s all their fault, not the economy.

  25. no.no.notorious says:

    well, of course sales will be low. fewer people consider themselves Christians, so why celebrate Christmas? i know, i know …”it’s a tradition.”

    or, the other alternative, since they start Christmas earlier and earlier every year, alot of people probably get their stuff earlier to avoid crowds.

  26. Kounji says:

    I have to say that is a clever story name.

  27. RStewie says:

    We’re cutting back this year. A new house, new car, and only a single income is setting us back enough as it is.

    So my son will only be getting MOST of his wish list, and not ALL of it, this year.

  28. battra92 says:

    I’m not going to spend less. Not due to my financial situation (I’m doing just fine thankyouverymuch) but because we all have too much stuff. I may just buy one big thing for everyone or see if people will go in on quality items vs. quantity items.

    My folks used to overspend a lot at Christmas. My dad is free of the habit but mom still feels bad if she doesn’t go into debt for 11 months to pay it off.

  29. thebluepill says:

    Bah Humbug!

  30. nidolke says:

    Good. Where does it say that for Christmas, you neeeed to buy your kids a bunch of things? Don’t teach your children to expect tons of gifts, and they won’t be let down. Now maybe people can finally get their priorities straight. Or at least start to…

  31. jamar0303 says:

    Heh… and I was going to start college this year in the US, too. Good thing I decided to spend the extra year in China instead of leaving. Things are way cheaper here (yeah, yeah, I know, be careful or you won’t live to tell the story, lead and melamine and all that…) and the job market is pretty darn good.