The Christmas spending bump flattens

The holiday season’s hold on Americans is getting weaker. In 1994, according to the Census Bureau, retailers earned $82bn (in 2015 dollars) more in sales during November and December than they would have without the seasonal effect of the holidays. That worked out at $310 per person. In 2015 seasonal sales during these months were just $76bn, or $240 per person. The decline in seasonal shopping is steepest in December. For that, blame three things. The growth of e-commerce has made it easier for people to shop for seasonal gifts whenever they want. Gift cards under the Christmas tree push purchases into January. And millennial shoppers are having an impact on sales: they tend to prefer experiences to yet more stuff.

This post was originally published in the Economist.

The Christmas spending bump flattens

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