RIT Retail Marketing Expert Predicts ‘Tepid’ Holiday Spending By Consumers

Shopping spirits dampened by high gas and food prices

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

It may not be a festive holiday season for retailers this year, predicts a marketing expert at Rochester Institute of Technology.

High gas and food prices may temper consumers’ holiday spending, says Eugene Fram, the J. Warren McClure Research Professor of Marketing in RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.

“At best, I think we’re in for a tepid Christmas season,” predicts Fram. “There’s consensus it’s really not going to be a gangbuster or robust Christmas season.”

Interviewed on the RIT news podcast “Studio 86,” Fram predicts that stores selling high-end luxury goods will continue to fare better than mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart. He says consumers in lower socio-economic groups are most affected by high gas and food prices.

“We’re living in a two-level society with people who are doing very well financially—whose portfolios have increased very nicely—and people on the lower socio-economic scale who are beset by high gas prices, increased food prices and other basic expenditures that they just can’t get around,” Fram says.

Also dampening shoppers’ spirits this year, according to Fram: There are no “must-have” gifts.

“We’re not seeing anything equivalent to the iPods—items that everybody had to have and were standing in line to get,” Fram says.

Note: Hear the entire interview at http://www.thetigerbeat.com/rss/podcasts/studio86_11-06-07.m4a

Editors: To interview Eugene Fram, contact Marcia Morphy at (585) 475-4951 or mpmuns@rit.edu.

Broadcast editors: For uncut audio, contact Michael Saffran at (585) 475-5697 or mjsuns@rit.edu.