Consumer Reports Index Shows The Holiday Retail Season Began With A Bang

It’s been a holly jolly season so for this year for retailers, as the Consumer Reports Index for December shows we were in the mood to spend last month and are on pace to keep it up this month as well.

The Consumer Reports Index is our smarter sibling’s way to measure overall consumer financial health, and the most recent numbers indicate we’re finally letting ourselves splurge after years of tighter spending.

Last year at this time, the Past 30-Day Retail Index was 12.4, and is now up to 13.9. Planned spending for the next month shows a strong number of 12.7, an increase from 11.8 a year ago. One of the areas we spend most in? Personal electronics.

“It may be this relative stability in contrast to the gloom of the past several years, that is causing consumers to cast off the restraint of the seasons gone by and ‘celebrate’ with some serious shopping,” said Ed Farrell, director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

For more info on the Consumer Reports Index report and how it’s calculated, check it out in full at


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    I’m still in “tight budget” mode.

    I’ll probably get a new ball of yarn from Mrs. Cat this year, and of course, she is getting a gift-wrapped Cat and a Shiny Thing.

    The kittens are getting a bag of Little Friskies to share, unless I free base them first.

  2. Darrone says:

    “People have accepted that while the economy is in the shitter, it’s relatively stable in said shitter, and thus are spending more”. Sadly, this is considered “good” news.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    i bought an expensive piece of electronic. normally I would never bought this… but s.o. seems to want one and have no idea I’m getting it.

    I normally don’t buy gift for xmas except for one person…it’s been a tradition.

    So there’s only one more thing I need to get and I’m done… if I help caused that number shift, i’m not going to be part of it for the next month.

  4. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    12.4 of what?

  5. Dallas_shopper says:

    I’m not doing worse financially but I cut my holiday spending regardless.

  6. tbax929 says:

    After tightening my belt for the last couple of Christmases (last year I bought a house, and the year before that I was laid off), I decided to go all out this year. First of all, I can afford to do it. Secondly, I haven’t had the kind of Christmas I like for two years, and I feel overdue.

    My job is secure, my finances are in order, and I decided this year to buy the gifts I really wanted to give people.

  7. JP says:


    Who has the money to blow on Xmas? Not me…

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    One of the areas we spend most in? Personal electronics.

    You mean it’s not cars? *grumbles about the stupid, smug Lexus commercials*

    I have a rule about personal electronics. I don’t buy them for other people unless I know that’s what they want, down to the model number. It’s just too much money to spend without making sure that’s what the person really wants.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      This. I don’t even give gift cards for stuff like this because it locks them into a specific store. If I know someone wants an electronic or big-ticket item, I just write them a check for a set amount and they can put it towards that item. Or not. But at least it’s relatively hassle-free.

  9. PunditGuy says:

    I sprung for a Kinect for an early holiday present for the family. Toss in a used copy of Kinectimals for the kid and some dance game for the missus that was on sale, and I still ended up spending less than I would have for just a Kinect 30 days ago. And now I get to yell at my Xbox to make it do things. God bless us, every one!

  10. Invader Zim says:

    We hear this mythic tale at the beginning of every retail xmas season. Let see what the story is when the season is over.

  11. BigDragon says:

    I’m having a rough time giving some resellers my money this year. I love collecting dragon stuff. Unfortunately, I keep running into a situation where items marked “in stock” never ship and instead end up getting cancelled because they’ve been “discontinued”. Funny, I remember when “in stock” meant you actually had one to sell. I think I’m just going to register an accounts with the manufacturers and cut out the middlemen now. I haven’t bought anything significant from brick and mortar retailers this year. In fact, I’ve spent way less this year than last year.

  12. Shorebreak says:

    First of all, this is more propaganda from the retailers. Having posted that, it still remains that the vast majority of Americans are unable to save or budget. They can’t resist the siren call of the “Big Sale”. Spending money on stuff, whether they have the funds or not, is so ingrained in their psyche that it’s impossible to control. After all, there will always be someone to take care of them if they go broke.