Twin Cities media embrace St. Thomas Holiday Spending Survey

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The 11th annual University of St. Thomas Holiday Spending Survey was released this week, relating good news. The survey, conducted by the Opus College of Business' Dr. Lorman Lundsten, Jon Seltzer and Dr. John Sailors, reported levels of holiday shopping enthusiasm not seen in Twin Cities shoppers since before the recession. The average household is expected to spend $773 on gifts, up from $703 last year.

Media reaction to the survey has been vigorous. KSTP focused on the fact that increased spending will translate to fewer sales, quoting Jon Seltzer: "You're going to find much more small sales, limited duration, specific items where retailers are really going to be fine-tuning their inventory levels."

The Pioneer Press sought to manage expectations, noting that "holiday surveys suggest this may a holly jolly Christmas for retailers, but there's disagreement over exactly how jolly." They go on to cite Lorman Lundsten's statement that "We're not saying that the world is totally rosy."

The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal focused on the positive news. "When you look at 11 years of survey data, you can trace the mood of Twin Cities shoppers before, during and after the recession," they quote Lundsten. "A sense of optimism this year comes through not only in the numbers, but also in the respondents’ written replies. At the height of the recession, these responses reflected considerable fear and caution. This year’s respondents are a more cheerful group and they have a more optimistic outlook." Fox 9's coverage is in a similar vein, as is that of Twin Cities Business. TCB noted that the survey names Target and Macy's as "clear winners" in the issue of which stores would benefit most from the increased spending.

Minneapolis' Downtown Journal, in their coverage of the sruvey, spoke to an enthusiastic official at the Mall of America. "We’ve seen an increase in sales as well as traffic this entire year regarding mall-wide sales, so I think that it’s just kind of continuing to snowball," said Bridget Jewell, senior manager of public relations and social media at the mall. "Consumer confidence is coming back." 

WCCO noted a surprising facet of the survey's findings: that cash is likely to be the number one gift this year.

Originally published: 11/15/2012, Various