Holiday Ad Forecast: Oh No, or Ho-Ho?

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By: Greg Mitchell

The “whether” forecast for the upcoming holiday season brightened considerably in September, perhaps spurred by falling gas prices. National surveys that month by Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, a leading market research firm, found that 2 in 10 now expect to spend more for Christmas this year. This is the highest mark in this category since September 2003, even though 43% say they still expect to spend less.

At the same time, those worried about dreaded “stagflation” plummeted to 18% from 37% in August, making consumers more likely to open their wallets. “Volatility is a sword that can cut both ways,” the Shapiro team tells E&P. “Numbers can plunge just as fast as they can soar. Advertisers must make decisions now about an uncertain future.”

But newspapers shouldn’t be passive.

The Shapiro firm notes: “Here is a thought-starter for a promotion that might help in planning. Let the newspaper take the initiative in setting up a Christmas gift register where anyone can register their heart’s desires. Salt the register with coupons that shoppers can redeem with cooperating retailers for tickets that give them a chance to get a full refund for the dollars they spent.”

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