How Will Reduced Holiday Spending Affect Your Company?

A recent Gallup poll indicates that holiday spending will be down 11.9% from last year. The survey, taken October 3-5, says that consumers are planning to spend approximately $801 for holiday 2008. This compares to the same survey conducted in 2007 with estimates of $909.

Before you jump on the panic express that seems to be running rampant these days, let’s put things in perspective. The survey results from the last eight years are:

2008 – $801
2007 – $909
2006 – $907
2005 – $763
2004 – $730
2003 – $734
2002 – $695

The 2008 number is the third highest in the last eight years. And, the survey was taken when it appeared that our financial world was on the edge of collapsing.

The question for your company isn’t “how much are consumers planning on spending?” Instead of focusing on the global view, look at your specific situations. The questions you should be asking are:

How much will our customers spend this holiday season with our company?

Have we established the foundation to encourage our customers’ loyalty?

Are our discounting practices undermining our profitability?

Do our product lines and service policies match customer expectations?

If your business has the right answers for these questions, it doesn’t matter much what happens elsewhere. You will have a good holiday season.

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