‘Frugality Fatigue’ May Fuel Increased Holiday Spending

By Nina Moini | Austin Daily Herald |

Retail analysts predict holiday spending this year could surpass the $1 trillion mark for the first time.

What’s behind the forecast increase in sales? One expert says it may be a result of “frugality fatigue.”

“Consumers (have) suffered from what I call ‘frugality fatigue’ for many years because they were always given information about the state of economy that sounded pessimistic, so their ability and willingness psychologically to spend money was not the same as it is currently,” said University of Minnesota professor Akshay Rao, who holds the General Mills chair in marketing at the Carlson School of Management.

Rao said it’s a welcome shift retailers have noticed. High consumer confidence and low unemployment are also key ingredients for a successful holiday shopping season.

Another factor working in retailers’ favor this year: An earlier Thanksgiving Day adds a couple of shopping days into the mix between Black Friday and Christmas. Rao said that can lead to millions more in sales.

“Normally, Thanksgiving is a couple days later, which in the grand scheme of things might not seem like very much,” he said. “But when you think about the fact that this is a 30-day period, a couple of days here or there is 10 percent more time.”

But Rao said retailers aren’t going to sit back and wait for sales. They’re actively working to find customers online.

Read more at the Austin Daily Herald.