We make a list, check it twice, and then begin the hunt for
the best deals—online and in stores. This year, shoppers can expect a lot of
competition, according to business experts at DePaul University in Chicago.
“The economy is better than it was last year,” said Joel
Whalen, director of
curriculum at DePaul's Center for Sales Leadership. “Consumer mood is
better and, coming off of the election, many people are much more confident.
Consumers spend more when they’re feeling good.”
Marketing expert Suzanne Fogel predicted a similar forecast.
“Consumer confidence is at its highest since the financial crisis began. Sales are expected to trend up by about 4
percent and people in general are going to be spending a bit more this year,” said
Fogel, chair of the Marketing Department in DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business.
Don’t Bust Your
“Shoppers must pay
enough attention to what is going on around them,” Fogel said. “People see a
sale sign and they don’t think to themselves, ‘Is this a good deal?’ They say,
‘Oh, this is on sale! It must be a good deal.’”
She suggested having a list made ahead of time and to avoid
treating yourself. “If consumers want to go shopping for themselves, then they
should go shopping after Christmas,” Fogel said. “That’s when the sales are
Whalen agreed. “It’s important to make a list of who you
want to give gifts to, describe the gift and list the amount you want to
spend,” he said.
An Upside to the
For those who want to avoid the mall, Whalen suggested buying
gift cards and online shopping as ways to “avoid running with the bulls.”
However, he noted, “You’re not going to get the holiday spirit online. You
won’t see the decorations in the stores or connect with other people. You’re
not going to get that psychological boost — that sense of belonging.”
For those who prefer online shopping, Fogel notes that Black
Friday has never come sooner. “Retailers are sending out emails telling
consumers ‘You don’t have to wait until Black Friday. You can order online and
receive that deal now,’” she says. “To some consumers, Black Friday isn’t worth
suffering getting up in the morning and going through a chaotic day of shopping
just to save a couple of bucks