In the wake of the US presidential election, people are turning their attention to a new distraction: shopping.
Holiday spending is expected to get a boost in the coming weeks, according to retailers and industry experts.
“Amid the most contentious White House race in recent US history, close to half of consumers told NRF in a survey last month that they were being more cautious in their holiday spending because of uncertainty over the election outcome,” writes J. Craig Shearman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation. “But with the election settled — and television airtime previously consumed by political ads now freed up for retailers’ holiday advertising — shoppers are expected to pull themselves out of the election doldrums and retailers will likely see a rush of customers in the coming weeks.”
Supporters of both president-Elect Donald Trump and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are expected to contribute to the spending increase, either to celebrate or mourn the election outcome, according to Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with NPD Group.
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“You will see a bump in spending this year because this election was so close, so highly contested, and so dramatic no matter which candidate you supported,” Cohen told Business Insider. “Half the country is going to be happy, so they are going to go out and spend, and half is going to be very distraught and disturbed — and one way to get out of that slump is to distract themselves by going to stores.”
Jessica Rinaldi/ReutersThat’s consistent with a recent survey by ForeSee that revealed most Americans are planning to spend the same amount or more during the holiday season than they had planned to prior to the election.
About one in five Democrats plan to increase spending over the coming weeks, compared to what they had planned to spend prior to the election, while one in 10 Republicans said they were planning to spend more, according to the survey.
Retailers including Macy’s and Kohl’s are also expecting a strong fourth quarter, despite overall weak spending trends this year.
“To have a group of the population feeling like their voices have been heard is a positive thing,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said, according to the Wall Street Journal. He made the remarks after Macy’s reported an upbeat outlook for the holiday season, with the company saying it expects same-store sales declines to improve over last year.
Kohl’s is also expecting a strong holiday season, according to the company’s CEO, Kevin Mansell.
“Things that are distracting like the election, once there’s an outcome, certainty is a good thing,” Mansell said. “So from a positive perspective, having certainty on that is probably a good thing looking into the holiday.”
Before the election, the National Retail Federation predicted that sales during the holiday period online and in stores would increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion this year. That’s an increase from last year, when holiday spending grew 3% over the previous year.