Lower gas prices may boost holiday sales and other discretionary spending, state economist says

September, the Oregon average for a gallon of regular gas fell to $3.80, down from its summer high near $4. In October, that price was down to $3.44. As of Nov. 24, the average Oregonian was paying $3.04 for a gallon of regular, resulting in the lowest prices in four years.”

In September, the Oregon average for a gallon of regular gas fell to $3.80, down from its summer high near $4. In October, that price was down to $3.44. As of Nov. 24, the average Oregonian was paying $3.04 for a gallon of regular, resulting in the lowest prices in four years.

Those savings at the pump will likely translate into a rise in discretionary spending just in time for the holiday shopping season, said Josh Lehner, an economist with the state of Oregon.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American consumer spent $2,418 on gas in 2013. Gas is a fixed part of Americans’ budgets, and any money saved from lower gas prices will likely be spent, rather than saved, Lehner said.

“There’s more room for groceries, more room for holiday spending than you would have otherwise,” he said. In addition to boosting sales at retail stores, “It wouldn’t surprise me to see better numbers at restaurants or Blazers games,” he said.

Planned Holiday Spend Per Shopper – All Holiday Items

Information
Only those who indicated that they plan to celebrate any of the Winter Holidays answered.
Charts from the NRF Foundation’s Retail Insight Center. To access this data and more research please visit the Retail Insight Center.

In a National Retail Federation survey, those surveyed said they plan to spend more than $800 on all holiday items this year, and nearly $600 on gifts. That’s up significantly from recent years.

According to the retail industry group, consumers spent an average of $767 per person last year on holiday items, including gifts and decorations.

Original Article: http://www.oregonlive.com/window-shop/index.ssf/2014/11/lower_gas_prices_may_buoy_holi.html


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