WVU experts explain how Christmas shopping affects the economy


With the holiday season now upon us, this means a lot more shoppers out in the stores. 

The shopping that begins on Black Friday and continues all throughout the holiday season is very important to retailers and the economy. 

“The signal they get on that first day can give a really big indicator of how well their sells are going to be over the overall season, and therefore over the entire year,” said John Deskins, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at WVU. 

The holiday season can account for as much as thirty percent of a retailer’s annual sales.

“We get a lot of signaling from Black Friday. If it’s a strong Black Friday, that’s going to mean sales are good, business is good, the economy is good. If sales are weak on Black Friday, then that can mean the opposite. It can mean that we’re in for a weak holiday shopping season. So less spending, that’s going to hurt the profits and all of the other factors. The employment from retailers and it can have negative repercussions throughout the economy,” said Deskins. 
In 2017, holiday retail sales in the United States are forecast to amount to about 680.4 billion U.S. dollars.

“It’s going to be retailers that are selling gift items. The gas station, Black Friday is not going to matter a whole lot for the gas station or the grocery store where people are going regularly for normal items. But the retailers that sell gift items, especially retailers like at the mall, where you are selling a lot of holiday gifts. And that’s where it really matters,” said Deskins. 

Owner of the Elegant Alley Cat in Morgantown,  Amy Dale, said sales dramatically increase during the holiday season.

“Christmastime, really from Black Friday on until the end of December is definitely the busiest time, so we try to make sure that we have a lot of different gift options and like I said, we’re prepared with our staff and to help make it a good experience here in the store,” said Dale. 

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