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What crisis?

An article in the Economist bemoans the decreasing consumer spending and its effect on the “High Street” (equivalent of the American term “Main Street”). It appears that there are already small but discernible declines in how much people spend this holiday season compared to last year. Given that the normal year-on-year trend is upwards, seeing a quantifiable decline is a cause for alarm.

Yet, going to any shopping mall, one cannot get over the impression that there are simply insufferable hordes of shoppers everywhere. It feels as though there are more people doing shopping than we’ve ever seen in the years past. Either the spend per person is much lower than before – or, more likely, the brain refuses to allow that what one sees today cannot be the worst crowds ever.

Funny how your perception works.


  1. Eric

    Ilya, I’m going to guess the answer is both: crowds (however large) are smaller and spend per person is less. Any “evidence” I have is anecdotal (and therefore technically worthless), but it seems everybody I know is setting mutual limits, going in for group gifts, pooling office or family money for donations instead of buying trinkets, or merely saying they’re not spending as much this year as they did last year. If that perception is accurate and reflective of something larger… well, it speaks for itself, then.

    I guess we’ll see what the numbers say in January….

  2. Ilya

    I agree, Eric, everybody I know is doing the same thing this year. It is the feeling that there are more people out shopping than I recall from last year that I find strange.

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