Examining Retailer And Consumer Perceptions In Determining Economic Expectations: A Demonstration With The 2008 Holiday Season

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Jacqueline K. Eastman
Benjamin P. McKay
Jacob Forehand


Retailer Perceptions, Consumer Perceptions, Holiday Shopping


Two stratified probability samples were conducted in the southeastern United States, one of consumers and one of retailers, to measure economic perceptions in the fall of 2008. Direct comparisons were made between consumers’ and retailers’ perceptions in the areas of the economy, financial soundness, cost of living, and planned consumer holiday spending.  The results suggested that retailers and consumers held similar negative perceptions in terms of the state of the economy.  Consumers though felt less financially sound than retailers did.  Additionally, consumers felt the cost of living has increased to a greater degree than retailers felt their cost of operating had.  Finally, there was a considerable difference in consumers’ planned holiday spending and retailers’ expectations of holiday spending as retailers better predicted that consumers were planning to spend less. The managerial implications for retailers based on these predictions are presented.


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