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Holiday spending may fall off a cliff: Goldman Sachs

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
In this article:
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With the U.S. economy teetering on the brink of a double-dip recession as states restrict commerce to combat a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for holiday season spending is becoming bleaker, according to new findings out of Goldman Sachs.

About 53% of 1,000 consumers recently polled by Goldman said they planned to spend less this holiday season. Roughly 23% said they would spend the same amount as last year. But dig beneath the headlines, and some of Goldman’s pre-holiday learnings fall under the disturbing category.

The survey showed 20% of consumers plan to spend “substantially” less, while only 7% indicated they will spend more compared to 2019. By demographic, 62% of Baby Boomers surveyed said they would spend less, compared to 42% last year.

“Overall, we believe results point to soft holiday spending intentions this year vs. 2019, with a majority of consumers surveyed planning to spend less this year,” Goldman retail analyst and report’s lead author Alexandra Walvis wrote.

Walvis dilvulged her team’s holiday season winners and losers:

  • Winners: Amazon, Walmart, FedEx, UPS

  • Losers: Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, PVH Corp.

Goldman’s new poll comes amid cracks starting to emerge in the retail sales recovery that started in the summer and continued into early fall.

Shoppers walk past a display of Christmas decorations at a Target store, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Marlborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
Shoppers walk past a display of Christmas decorations at a Target store, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Marlborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

U.S. retail sales in October rose at their slowest rate since the spring, according to new data out of the Commerce Department on Tuesday. Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in October, far slower than the 1.6% gain in September. Retailers such as Macy’s and Kohl’s reported very weak third quarters this week, too.

Meantime, the National Retail Federation recently projected consumers will spend $50 less in gifts this year compared to 2019. “While overall spending in these categories is down by about $50 from last year, nearly all ($45) of the decrease comes from consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy other, non-gift purchases for themselves and their families,” the NRF stated.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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