WILKES-BARRE, PA. (Sept. 30, 2013) – A short holiday shopping season and decreasing consumer confidence are among the factors cited by a Wilkes University professor as fueling holiday retail sales in 2013. Anthony L. Liuzzo, business and economics professor and director of Arizona business programs for Wilkes University, is predicting an increase of 3.2 percent in holiday retail spending for the current year. Liuzzo, who has been producing his holiday retail sales forecast for more than 20 years, tracks shopping trends and buyer behavior in making his annual analysis.
Liuzzo has predicted a 3.2 percent increase in holiday retail spending – slightly higher than last season’s actual 3 percent – because many economic uncertainties still remain. “Despite the fact that consumers indeed desire to spend much more this year than they did last year, they might be unable to do so, due to the continued high rate of unemployment, fears of job losses, extremely modest wage increases, the depressed housing market, and uncertainty in stock prices,” says Liuzzo, who is teaching classes for Wilkes on-site in Mesa. Wilkes is one of four schools participating in the city ‘s H.E.A.T initiative for Economic Development, designed to increase college competition and spur economic growth.
In making his 2013 prediction, Liuzzo notes that while the savings rate of consumers exploded to more than 8 percent immediately after the onset of the recent recession, it has now decreased to about 5 percent. “Consumer confidence has recently begun to fall,” Liuzzo says. “This holiday season will be characterized by a cautious consumer.”
Thanksgiving falls late on Nov. 28, making the shopping season only 26 days long – six days shorter than last year and with only four weekends of shopping in 2013. Christmas falling on a Wednesday in 2013 is another factor. “Retailers prefer that Christmas falls on Sunday or Monday, allowing for weekend shopping immediately prior to the holiday,” says Liuzzo.
Some other factors temper in Liuzzo’s forecast. Consumer confidence remains low, for example, with unemployment hovering close to 8 percent. Stock market performance, while improving, continues to be a bit uncertain, Liuzzo explains, as do other economic indicators such as the continued stagnant housing market. Consumer debt also continues to be a negative influence, with high credit card debt and bankruptcies still being problematic. A copy of the full 2013 holiday retail sales forecast can be accessed at www.wilkes.edu/holidayforecast.
Liuzzo’s annual predictions of holiday retail sales have been published in hundreds of newspapers and magazines throughout the United States, including FoxNews.com, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, and New York Newsday. He has appeared on national radio and local television on numerous occasions, and has been the subject of articles appearing on CNN, and in The Detroit News and The Washington Times.
Liuzzo’s forecast also contains valuable information about trends in categories of holiday retail shopping, including online sales, gift cards and discount retailers. He also predicts the big sellers each holiday season when discussing retail inventory. In 2013, hi-tech products will continue to be vigorous. Liuzzo predicts major sellers could be computer tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy and the Apple iPad, smartphones, PlayStation and Xbox One game consoles, big-screen smart TVs, toys such as the Barbie Dream House and the Furby boom, and children’s learning toys.
About Anthony L. Liuzzo
Dr. Anthony L. Liuzzo is professor of business and economics at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and director of Arizona business programs at its location in Mesa, Ariz., as part of the city’s higher education consortium. He is an attorney who has earned both his master of business administration degree and a doctorate in business administration. Dr. Liuzzo may be reached for interviews and more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Wilkes University
Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the university provides its students with the experience, mentoring and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as personal growth. Named one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilkes offers the doctor of nursing practice, doctor of education and doctor of pharmacy degrees and more than a dozen master’s degree programs, including the master of business administration and master of fine arts in creative writing. For more information, visit www.wilkes.edu