Feedback
Business

This Election Is So Nuts, Some Consumers Can’t Be Bothered With Shopping

Retailers have begun ushering in big deals ahead of Black Friday, but with the countdown to the presidential election intensifying, consumers aren't as interested in shopping as they normally would be this time of year.

"The consumer doesn't want to rush, but the retailers can't wait to begin the holiday sales, which they have," said Marshal Cohen, retail industry analyst at NPD Group.

"It's a push/pull factor that creates a disparity between retail and consumption — which only gets retailers more frantic."

Brent Shelton, online shopping expert at FatWallet, is also seeing lackluster shopping behavior due to the presidential election, in part because of the content that's being discussed ad nauseam by either party: money.

Related: Black Friday? This Year It's More Like Black November

"This election year [there is] so much economic jargon being strewn about, it's hard to get people motivated to spend their money, especially for things they don't necessarily need right now," said Shelton. "That said, those willing to spend should pay attention as should holiday shopping stall, retailers will be forced to make the early sales better. The sales to pay more attention to are the short term, 24-hour pop-up sales, sometimes referred to as 'early access to doorbusters, or Black Friday sneak-peeks'."

In addition to the election, consumers are also feeling less inclined to buy seasonal apparel right now because of the unusually warm weather that is affecting much of the country, Cohen added.

And then you've got the World Series, an event that may happen every year but is especially exciting this year given the beloved underdogs, the Chicago Cubs, have a place at the plate.

"I don't see the World Series as too much of a distraction to shopping overall, but it does add in," said Cohen. "It creates an opportunity for consumers to do more than shop, and that is waylaying the holiday season."

A woman rests while shopping at South Park mall in Charlotte
A woman rests while shopping at South Park mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. REUTERS/Chris Keane REUTERS

Related: Consumers Will Spend Almost $800 Billion This Holiday Season

Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot thinks that shoppers still ultimately care about the upcoming holiday season, despite the distractions — and that in a short matter of time, they'll get back to filling up their carts.

"While this week seems to be overruled by election and sports, we know that in a short few weeks, this will all pass and the social media buzz will be all about holiday deals, trends and shopping," said Skirboll. "The news cycle will change soon, and holiday should start to take the reins in terms of chatter."

Cohen agrees that no matter who wins the Oval Office, consumers will get back to normal a day or two after the results are in.

"The sun will rise, the moon rotate," said Cohen. "And people will shop."