The Corner

Americans’ Initial Christmas Spending Intentions Look Merry

I’m happy to admit that though it’s only October I’m already looking forward to Christmas. And the good folks at Gallup are asking about it as a way to better understand our economy’s recovery.

Americans’ initial estimates of the total amount they will spend on Christmas gifts this year point to an above-average holiday season for the nation’s retailers. While Gallup’s October spending forecast is a warm-up to its key measure in November, it finds Americans expecting to spend $781, on average, up from $704 last November.


Underscoring this relatively upbeat preliminary forecast for retailers is that Americans’ comparison of their projected holiday spending this year to what they spent last year is slightly more positive today than in November 2013. In fact, it is one of the most positive assessments Americans have given about their holiday spending since 2007 — right before the U.S. sank into the last recession.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at

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