With the recent decline in gasoline prices, consumers are pocketing an estimated $40 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. And, they’re itching to spend it this coming holiday season.
Money Burning a Hole in Our Pockets
According to the Morgan Stanley U.S. Economic Report (1) for the final quarter of 2014, year-over-year household incomes will jump by at least $40 billion, and possibly more, should gas prices remain low or fall further. That will bring an estimated 4% increase in holiday spending over 2013.
How much more you might ask? A recent Nielsen Company (2) research report suggests that a “majority of households plan to drop (spend) between $250 and $500” with more “households earning over $50,000 planning to spend between $500 and $1,000”.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The National Retail Federation (3) notes that “90 percent of Americans celebrated Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukah, “making this the biggest holiday season of all”. In 2013, all households spent $730 on gifts, food, decorations and more on average. Adding to the windfall of money to spend, consumer confidence in the U.S. is on an upward climb. Though the recession lingers, the improved health of the job market, housing, and lower inflation rates is giving consumers the confidence to spend and not save this new-found wealth.
Black Friday is Too Late for Some
Consumers are at the doors waiting for the sales to begin. Nielsen reports that 22% of consumers started their holiday shopping in October. Online shopping leads the pack for shoppers seeking that special something this coming season. But, bricks-and-mortar locations are seeing demand increasing as well with mass merchandisers and club stores attracting more shoppers than seen in 2013.
Paul Carringer’s latest article for The CCDaily, published by the American Association of Community Colleges.
What keeps leaders of our institutions up at night? In a recent study of community college presidents by theNational Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR), the top marketing concerns were:
• Social media
• Target audiences
Surrounding these concerns is the need for “strategic thinking” by college leaders. The study participants expressed the need to do more with less and being more effective with marketing efforts in a competitive environment. And, with the reality of many constituencies, college presidents worry about targeting each group, traditional and nontraditional, effectively and efficiently.
Part of the job
Telling our institutional story in the news can have a direct and positive impact on these issues. Thomas Garbett described how being the chief communicator and reputation manager for the organization is an “unwritten part of every CEOs job description” way back in 1988. In the book Public Relations and the Presidency, John Ross and Carol Halstead note that presidents identify the media as being a very important audience and that the development of good media relations is a key to the success of the institution and the president.