“It’s definitely busy,” said Sonia Zureik, 38, who drove to South Coast Plaza from San Diego on Saturday because she prefers the mall’s shops to those closer to her home. Zureik plans to spend about $3,000, her entire holiday bonus, on Christmas gifts this year: “Right now I’m getting a little panicky that I won’t get all my shopping done.”
The National Retail Federation recently conducted a survey that showed about 33 percent of consumers polled saying they anticipate buying less this year for the Holidays. That’s an increase from the 29 percent who felt that way in 2006. But when The Register did their own unofficial survey of observing the crowds at OC’s shopping centers, they concluded that the malls seemed as packed as ever on this last weekend before Christmas.
For all the talk of a looming economic downturn, all the checkout lines at the Santa Ana Target were filled and stores at South Coast Plaza were packed with shoppers desperately searching for last-minute gifts. So what’s really happening here? Is our local economy stronger than we think? Are consumers just spending despite their increased hardship? Or are we all actually spending less than we were in years past?
So what have you been discovering at your local mall? Are the stores crowded? Does it seem like people are spending as much as ever before? Are you spending as much on holiday gifts as you did before?
Go ahead and read the article in today’s Register, and feel free to come back and tell me what you think. What do our spending habits say about our economic stength? Is our economy picking up as we spend more? Or are we just too addicted to our spending habits?