Tight election race could dampen consumer spending during a fraught holiday season – CNBC

Destiny USA mall reopens as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions are eased in Syracuse, New York, U.S.

Maranie Staab | Reuters

Retailers have faced nothing short of whiplash this year.

Businesses have had to shutter and reopen due to the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve coped with a plunge in sales and supply chain headaches. They’ve chased down protective gear and changed policies to try to reduce the risk of employees and customers getting sick with Covid-19. They’ve boarded up windows during the George Floyd protests and more recently in the days leading up to the election.

Now, one day after Election Day, they face another threat during the all-important holiday season: Americans who may be distracted or anxious as they await results.

President Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden remain in close races in key swing states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to NBC. A winner has not yet been declared, leaving consumers and businesses awaiting answers about who will lead the country and shape economic policy.

That could deal a blow to consumer confidence as retailers try to capitalize on the season of gift-giving.

Shopping put on hold

Greg Portell, lead partner in the global consumer practice of Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm, said the delayed results “will absolutely pause consumer spending.”

“Consumers have been on a great run of spending coming out of the lockdowns,” he said. “We were looking at a great holiday season. All of that is on pause until we see some clarity on who is going to win.”

If history is a guide, at least a temporary drop in spending is likely, according to a recent survey from Adobe Analytics, which tracks the web transactions of 80 of the 100 biggest internet retailers in the U.S.

Adobe found online sales dropped 14% the day after the 2016 election, when Trump was elected to office. They dropped 6% the day after the 2018 midterms, its research showed.

Meantime, 26% percent of consumers said the presidential election’s outcome would affect their holiday spending, Adobe found in surveying 1,000 U.S. consumers last month. And 63% of retailers told Adobe they expect Americans will be more confident in spending, post-election.

“If we don’t get closure and the election results actually end up taking longer than the traditional evening or the morning of the next day, then we might see a little bit of a hangover and a pause right there,” Jason Woosley, vice president of commerce product and platform at Adobe, said last week.

The prolonged counting of votes has also raised the possibility of a court battle or civil unrest — a concern that prompted retailers in major cities such as Washington, D.C., and New York City to board up their windows.

Early Wednesday, Trump falsely claimed he had won the election and said he would go to the U.S. Supreme Court to get “all voting to stop.”

Kearney’s Portell said there is especially heightened “passion” in the 2020 election among both Republicans and Democrats, with some people feeling like they are facing a “massive cliff” ahead should their party lose. And that’s something that could lead to potential riots and looting, after the official winner is named, he said.

“If we enter a period of civil unrest, consumer spending will stop, and we will have a horrible holiday season,” Portell said.

Even if Biden or Trump is soon declared the victor, there may be dampened enthusiasm for holiday spending because of election-related fallout, said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. He said he expects holiday sales to be flat or down from previous years.

“Retail requires some modicum of tranquility on the part of consumers who can take the time to enjoy the holiday and divert their attention from things that are making them crazy,” he said. “100% of this country is probably feeling somewhat crazy right now and when this is finally decided in the next few days or weeks, 50% of this country is going to be in a state of anger.”

Plus, he added, retailers will continue to deal with rising Covid-19 cases and how that may disrupt how Americans shop or celebrate. The U.S. recorded another 91,500 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the second-highest single-day tally to date, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The seven-day average of daily new cases now stands at 86,362 — 20% higher than last week’s levels.

“Covid is the insidious, invisible element that more or less blankets everything that will happen this holiday,” he said.

‘We will work through this’

Americans have shown they’re still eager to shop, even as coronavirus cases rise and many remain out of work. Retail sales have been recovering since May and rose by 1.9% in September, higher than economists surveyed by Dow Jones anticipated. Clothing and accessories increased 11%, followed by sporting goods, music and books, which jumped 5.7%.

Matt Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said he expects the October numbers to continue that trend. He said he’s confident that retail sales will continue rebounding.

“There is a general consensus that we will work through this,” he said. “The unemployment rate is coming down.”

The unemployment rate was 7.9% as of September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. That equates to about 12.6 million people, according to Refinitiv.

“Historically, political events can be a bit of a distraction, but consumers have the ability to separate what’s happening in the political world from the way they live their day-to-day lives,” Shay said.

Still, pandemic-related trends have sharpened the divide between retail winners and losers.

Some, including big-box stores such as Target and home improvement stores such as Lowe’s, have seen huge sales increases as they benefit from Americans cooking at home, spending money on their homes that they’d otherwise put toward vacations and buying puzzles or bikes to pass the time. Yet a growing list of others — from J.C. Penney to J.Crew — have filed for bankruptcy protection and announced layoffs and store closures.

Even retailers with strong pandemic sales, such as Walmart, have declined to provide outlooks for the year and cited an uncertain future because of factors such as government stimulus.

NRF has not yet released a holiday forecast, but its survey of 7,660 consumers in early October found they plan to spend an average of $997.79 on gifts and holiday items such as food and decorations. That’s a nearly $50 drop from last year.

According to Cohen, rising retail sales through the back half of this year mask a more complicated picture: Those sales are concentrated among big-box stores and grocers, as shopping mall-based stores struggle. Millions of Americans are still out of work, and regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins, he said, the president will likely lead a divided government that makes it difficult to strike a stimulus deal for consumers or businesses.

“We are a broken society at the moment and we’re going to remain so for the foreseeable future,” Cohen said. “And retail, which is the heart and soul of our vaunted economy, is going to be a victim of that.”

83 Comments
  1. ivermectin eye drops: ivermectin lotion price – ivermectin iv

  2. doxycycline vibramycin: doxycycline for sale – buy doxycycline online uk

  3. generic cialis canadian: taking cialis soft tabs buy cialis united kingdom

  4. cheap generic cialis: cialis online daily find cheap cialis online

  5. buy cialis very cheap prices fast delivery: cheap generic cialis cialis in europe

  6. buy cialis insurancecialis online without prescription: buy cialis online at lowest price buy cialis tadalafil uk

  7. cialis sale 20mg: how to get ciails without a doctor cialis 5mg tablet

  8. online pharmacy quick delivery: canadian online pharmacy no prescription – best canadian pharmacy

  9. buying from canadian pharmacies: top 10 pharmacies in india – online pharmacy dubai

  10. viagra side effects viagra samples – viagra

  11. safe buy cialis: buy cialis now buy cheap cialis uk

  12. doxycycline 100mg price buy doxycycline online without prescription – doxycycline 100mg capsules

  13. buy doxycycline monohydrate doxycycline medication – doxycycline hyclate

  14. generic viagra walmart: viagra without a doctor prescription usa – where to buy viagra

  15. non prescription erection pills buy generic ed pills online – southern pharmacy

  16. metformin 500 metformin xl – metformin tab price

  17. Reply
    travel dating sites free July 2, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    oasis free dating chat

  18. plaquenil price us hydroxychloroquine – plaquenil order online

  19. Reply
    sample keto diet plan July 6, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    keto diet migraines

  20. Reply
    keto salad dressing July 6, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    strict keto diet

  21. free keto diet

  22. ivermectin 250ml stromectol nz – ivermectin 10 ml

  23. otc ed drugs: new erectile dysfunction treatment – impotence treatment

  24. erection pills online: ed treatment – online drugs

  25. Reply
    Brand Reputation Management Services July 16, 2021 at 7:12 am

    744209 79389Having been just looking at beneficial weblog articles with regard to the project research when My partner and i happened to stumble on yours. Thanks for this practical details! 971362

  26. generic viagra walmart viagra pills – how much is viagra

  27. buy viagra online usa viagra online usa – price of viagra

  28. generic cialis 20 mg tadalafil buy cialis tadalafil tablets – buy cialis united kingdom

  29. local personal ads
    [url=”http://onlinedatinglook.com/?”]dating sites for over 50[/url]

  30. ivermectin 400 mg brands stromectol for sale – ivermectin usa price

  31. buy cipro online canada ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablet price – antibiotics cipro

  32. cipro online no prescription in the usa ciprofloxacin – cipro for sale

  33. safest and most reliable pharmacy to buy cialis cialis not working – buy cialis online canada

  34. free viagra samples australia brand name viagra buy ViagraCND100Mg – viagra for sale online

  35. viagra online paypal viagra soft – does alcohol inhibit viagra

  36. canadian online drugstore
    canada online pharmacy cheapest viagra in uk buy viagra online without prescription canadian online pharmacy viagra [url=https://cutt.ly/OQcVfqP]canadian pharmacy without prescription[/url] buy cialis online canada cialis for sale viagra and women cheap canadian drugs [url=http://h-und-s-dachbau.com/index.php?title=How_To_Order_And_Also_Use_Your_Generic_Cialis_Online_Without_Prescription]viagra india[/url]
    canadian pharmacies generic drugs online canadian pharmacy and cialis natural viagra canada drug companies [url=http://polyinform.com.ua/user/bathook52/]ephedrine sulfate[/url]

  37. stromectol cvs ivermectin pills for humans – cost of ivermectin

  38. overnight viagra
    canadian pharmacy cialis 20mg canadian pharmacy viagra online order viagra canadian online pharmacy viagra [url=http://scenep2p.com/user/amountbat08/]cialis in canada[/url] cost of viagra in canada canadian drug company buy viagra cheap viagra plus [url=http://evosolution.net/Forum/member.php?action=profile&uid=475318]viagra order online[/url]
    online viagra canada buy brand cialis online canada cheap viagra 100mg canadian pharcharmy online without prescription [url=https://pbase.com/topics/clefgarden95/how_to_order_as_well_as_usag]best generic cialis[/url]

  39. buy hydroxychloroquine uk plaquenil for sale canada – buy hydroxychloroquine sulfate

  40. discount cialis canada
    buy real viagra canadian rx pharmacy drugs of canada best price cialis [url=http://webcamera.ru/user/frownbox36/]viagra order online[/url] generic viagra in canada metoprolol buy viagra without a prescription order generic viagra [url=http://www.phishtank.com/]discount viagra[/url]
    cialis and pharmacy prescription drugs canada buy viagra without prescription canada free viagra [url=https://blip.fm/needopera52]viagra canada[/url]

  41. cialis from canada
    cialis from canadian best canadian online pharmacy reviews online pharmacies canada mexico viagra [url=https://flutecrayon84.werite.net/post/2021/08/02/Make-The-Most-Of-Your-Elegance-Regimen-With-These-Tips]cialis canadian pharmacies[/url] northwestpharmacy generic viagra canada is there a generic cialis international drug mart [url=https://nerdgaming.science/wiki/Just_how_To_Order_And_Usage_Your_Generic_Cialis_Online_Without_Prescription]canada meds[/url]
    canadian pharmacy and viagra canadian prescription order medications online northwestpharmacy [url=https://0rz.tw/?msg=%E7%B6%B2%E5%9D%80%E8%A2%AB%E8%A6%96%E7%82%BA%E4%B8%8D%E5%AE%89%E5%85%A8%E9%80%A3%E7%B5%90%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fmodemoption36.tumblr.com%2Fpost%2F658570876526198784%2Fstopping-the-panic-dealing-with-as-well-as]cheapest generic viagra[/url]

  42. buy viagra online canada viagra – buy viagra online canada

  43. viagra 100mg price viagra – how much is viagra

  44. canada pharmacy prednisone prednisone cream – buy prednisone online india

  45. Reply
    active gay dating site September 1, 2021 at 10:07 am

    gay bears in flagstaff dating https://freegaychatnew.com/

  46. Reply
    gay fat cub bear hairy dating September 1, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    adam4adam gay dating site https://gaychatgay.com/

  47. buy zithromax online zithromax generic – zithromax over the counter uk

  48. ivermectin 3mg tablets ivermectin – ivermectin drug

  49. furosemide 20 mg tablet price cheap lasix fuB GEF

  50. ed treatment drugs canadian approved online pharmacies – ed products

  51. furosemide rx lasix 20 mg price fuB GEF

  52. erection pills blue pill from canada – legal to buy prescription drugs from canada

  53. furosemide 12.5 mg walmart rx furosemide fuB GEF

  54. Reply
    lasix over the counter cvs September 9, 2021 at 7:48 am
  55. buy prescription drugs online india pharmacy viagra – erectile dysfunction natural remedies

  56. Reply
    gay latino dating sites September 10, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    gay male dating sites us https://dating-gaym.com/

  57. gay dating personals https://gaydatingcanada.com/

  58. Reply
    gay men online dating September 11, 2021 at 9:38 am

    situs gay dating https://gayedating.com/

  59. lasix 40 mg tablet price furosemide rx fuB GEF

  60. ivermectin 50 mg ivermectin – ivermectin over the counter

  61. stromectol liquid ivermectin cream cost

  62. Reply
    ivermectin where to buy September 18, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    stromectol tablets uk stromectol price in india

  63. drugs causing ed reasons for ed – medicines for ed

  64. treatment for ed online ed drugs – ed supplements

  65. Reply
    write a comparison essay September 29, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    academic essay writing https://essayghostwriter.com/

  66. Reply
    who to write an essay September 30, 2021 at 4:28 am

    the best essay writing service https://essaywritercentral.com/

  67. Reply
    buy ivermectin on line September 30, 2021 at 7:36 am

    buying ivermectin stromectol prices

  68. buy clomid 50mg clomid for sale – clomid tablets

  69. Reply
    Six hours in the dark: What really happened when Facebook Instagram and WhatsApp went down October 6, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    647855 243228Some truly good and utilitarian information on this internet web site , besides I believe the layout holds fantastic features. 455050

  70. http://edcialislove.online# cialis overnight shipping
    viagra cialis trial pack

  71. viagra doctor samples where to buy viagra melbourne – advice generic viagra
    viagra best pricve

  72. Reply
    essay writing online October 11, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    expository essay writing https://essaysnet.com/

  73. Reply
    writing a 5 paragraph essay October 12, 2021 at 6:48 am

    persuasive writing essay https://essaypoints.com/

  74. Reply
    writing argumentative essay October 14, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    writing argument essay https://online2casino.com/

  75. Reply
    writing literary analysis essay October 14, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    analysis essay writing https://onlinecasinos4me.com/

  76. pain medications without a prescription buy canadian drugs – what is the best ed pill

  77. mens erections website – ed pumps

  78. online ed medications natural ed pills – generic ed drugs

Leave a reply

Shopping cart