Consumer confidence has reached its highest point since July 2007. This could mean good news for retailers, as an increase in consumer confidence is directly related to an increase in retail sales. Economists are confident that this holiday season could be the best for retailers and consumers since the recession began.
Traditionally, the holiday shopping season officially begins on Black Friday. However, some retailers will be open on Thanksgiving Day, offering consumers Black Friday sales a day early.
As reported by CBS News, consumers are expected to spend an estimated $616 billion between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. That would mean an increase of more than five percent over 2013.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey confirmed the index of consumer sentiment is currently 88.8. However, economists expect consumer confidence will rise to an index of 90 before the holiday shopping season ends.
Bloomberg reports that the increase is likely related to several factors, including job growth, lower gas prices, and a rise in stock prices. Economist Chris Rupkey explains.
“Consumers are increasingly upbeat… The extreme drop in gasoline prices at the pump, which acts as a tax cut, is putting more dollars in consumers’ pockets.”
With consumer confidence on the rise and an increase in job growth, shoppers are ready for the Black Friday sales. Although navigating the stores and finding the sales can be daunting, Washington Post has suggested several helpful apps.
Chameleon, which is free for Android and iOS devices, provides consumers with a direct link to popular retailers and shopping malls. In addition to providing maps and reviews, the app is “plugged into stores’ inventories so you’ll know whether the item you want is still in stock or not before you get there.” Consumers can also collect points, which are exchanged for gift cards.
Ebates, which is also free for Android and iOS devices, provides consumers with valuable coupons and rebates for 1,700 retailers. It also includes a price comparison tool, which helps shoppers find the best sales.
Splash Shopper is a shopping list app which allows consumers to organize their holiday shopping lists. The app also lists average prices for each item. Although the app is not free, it is available for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices, for $1.99.
TGI Black Friday, which is free for Android and iOS devices, helps consumers collect and organize all Black Friday sales in one place. In addition to maintaining an up-to-date list of all Black Friday sales, the app allows shoppers to sort the sales by category, location, and store name.
The rise in consumer confidence is great news for retailers. However, it is also an indication of the overall United States economy. Although, for some, the recession seems to persist, economists believe the country as a whole has made great strides toward recovery.
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