Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Christmas Shoppers Are Back

The Christmas shoppers are back after two weeks off. I saw busy retail parking lots at on Friday as workers rushed to pick up gifts during their lunch hours. Retail traffic has remained busy, if a little less so, over the course of the weekend.

This pattern suggests that more people are doing their Christmas shopping with debit cards and cash. That would explain the rush of shopping on payday. The emphasis on lunch hour says that people want to finish their Christmas shopping without putting a lot of time, effort, or emotion into it.

If people are putting less time and attention into shopping and aren’t willing to pull out their credit cards, there isn’t so much leeway for impulse purchases. Even if you were to see something in the store, it’s hard to stop and consider it if you are limited to the money you have in your pocket and are due back in the office in a few minutes. It is also harder for a shopper to get caught up in the festival atmosphere of holiday shopping on a very short shopping trip or while daydreaming of being somewhere else.

The good news for retailers is that the same people will get paid again after Christmas and may come back for the sales then.