News Release

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 Budget

 “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 really good.”

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 Crowds

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

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