Americans are bummed about the economy, with sentiment the lowest in November since 2008
This year, even without Thanksgiving leftovers causing indigestion, Americans might not be so psyched to shop over the holiday weekend. That dull ache in the pit of their stomach will instead be caused by their pessimism about the path of the U.S. economy. Heading into the biggest shopping weekend of the year, consumer sentiment hasn't been as low since 2008. That might be bad news for retailers, as Black Friday shopping could suffer.
Black Friday sales are a little bit complicated to predict. On one hand, lots of shopping during the weekend often foreshadows more spending during the remainder of the holiday season. On the other hand, lots of shopping during Black Friday weekend in particular could be a symptom of broader penny pinching: unbeatable deals can be found in the days following Thanksgiving. Although this disparity makes it a little harder to know why consumers are spending more or less over Black Friday weekend, let's look at some history.
First, let's focus on the red bars, which show the average Black Friday weekend spending per shopper since 2005, provided by BIGresearch through the National Retail Federation. It seesawed over this period. The blue line represents consumer sentiment, according to a monthly survey compiled by Retuers/University of Michigan.