Holiday spending disappoints, while online spending increases

The early holiday numbers are in, and they don’t look pretty.

Consumer spending did not live up to retailer’s holiday hopes this season. Despite predictions of 13% more spending this Christmas, shoppers spent less than 1% more this year over 2011. Analysts wondered if shoppers were deterred from spending by several external factors — the fiscal cliff debate in Washington, Hurricane Sandy and inclement weather around the country, and the shooting in Connecticut.

Online holiday spending did get a larger piece of the holiday pie this year. Online shopping was up 16% over last year. Factors like free shipping promotions and marketing campaigns pushing Cyber Monday and Green Monday may have contributed to the increase in online buying.

It seems that online holiday shopping will continue to grow even in a low spending year. The convenience of online buying continues to be the lure for holiday shoppers. Shopping online gives consumers the ability to avoid crowds, bad weather, and the ability to easily compare prices from the comfort of home. These factors will keep online shopping a strong factor in the holiday spending sales equation.

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