Thursday 29 September 2016

Consumers stop saving ahead of Christmas spending

Charlie Weston and Mark O'Regan

Published 14/11/2015 | 02:30

Retailers are expecting the biggest Christmas splurge since 2008 as the country bounces back from recession
Retailers are expecting the biggest Christmas splurge since 2008 as the country bounces back from recession

Consumers have ditched plans to save money and are instead preparing to spend for Christmas.

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Retailers are expecting the biggest Christmas splurge since 2008 as the country bounces back from recession.

The early arrival of seasonal spending this year means the number of shoppers on the streets is close to boom-era levels.

In a departure from previous years, the need for retailers to entice consumers with pre-Christmas sales has started to wane, as the economy continues to grow.

"Shop owners are pulling back from this kind of event. It's a sign of how the whole business is now evolving," said Graeme McQueen of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

"The reason it was so successful in previous years was because it played right into the hands of the cost-conscious, bargain-hungry consumers.

"This kind of sale just couldn't go on forever. By slashing prices across the board, some retailers were almost doing themselves out of business in the weeks before Christmas.

"But there will still be special deals on specific products - electronics in particular."

Shift

He pointed out that there has also been a gradual shift in the way the public shop.

And the approach of the festive season means people are under pressure to put money into buying presents, food and drink, rather than putting it into a bank account, the latest Nationwide UK (Ireland) savings survey indicates.

The savings index fell to 108 in October, its lowest reading since February.

Managing director of the building society, Brendan Synnott, said consumers were spending money for Christmas instead of saving.

"Consumers are under more pressure to spend money and many will expect outlay to increase in the coming weeks. This is reflected in the results, which show an increase in those who don't feel they can save enough," he said.

The first Monday in December is traditionally the busiest day for online shopping, known as Cyber Monday.

Irish online shoppers splurged some €22m on this big spend day last year - with experts predicting far higher expenditure next month.

Mr McQueen: "It's going to be even better this year and retailers are talking about having a cyber week with a range of deals and special offers."

Irish Independent

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