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Economy effects on holiday shopping in Florida

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There’s just 12 days left until Christmas, which means there’s not much time left to get your holiday shopping done. With the holidays quickly approaching, WMFE's Talia Blake talked with Sean Snaith, University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting Director, about how the state of the economy is affecting people as they hit the stores.

Sean Snaith is the director for the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida. (photo: Sean Snaith)
Sean Snaith is the director for the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida. (photo: Sean Snaith)

Economic Impact On Shopping

It's no secret that it's expensive to live in Central Florida. While wages have increased over the past year, Snaith said the cost of living has not been keeping up.

"More dollars in the pocket book, but those dollars, don't go as far," he said. "And so I think when it comes to holiday spending, we can expect that that's going to be impacted as well."

Snaith predicts spending growth will be significantly this year compared to last because of the cost of living factors.

When To Shop

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation reported that people started shopping for the holidays in early November.

Snaith attributes that to the cost conscious mindset many people have given the rate of inflation.

"So if you see something, it's a good deal and, you know that's what your grandmother wanted, and it's on sale, I'm gonna take advantage of that," he said. "At the same time, some people will sort of lay back and see what a retailer is going to do."

That price awareness shopping can also be seen in retailer reports. Snaith said that Target is not preforming as well as Walmart due to consumer behavior.

Consumers are also still spending their money on experiences more than gifts, according to Snaith.

Holiday Shopping Tips

Compare, compare, compare!

The access to information consumers have now compared to 20 or 30 years ago is remarkable, according to Snaith.

He said the ability to comparison shop is a powerful tool.

"To have that information at your fingertips is going to allow you to be more strategic in your shopping," said Snaith. "And some of these places you can track the price of things you might want to buy to see 'oh, it's gone down 20% and now's a good time to buy.'"

Finding the best bang for your buck through comparison shopping is one way consumers can stretch their budgets, said Snaith, whether that's gift buying or just our monthly expenses.

After a brief stint as Morning Edition Producer at The Public’s Radio in in Rhode Island, Talia Blake returned to WMFE, the station that grew her love for public radio. She graduated with a double-major in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!). While at UCF, she was an intern for WMFE’s public affairs show, Intersection. In her spare time, Talia is an avid foodie and enjoys working out.
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