Home Blog Blog | Election Distraction
Sep 21, 2016

Election Distraction

Subscribe to our blog

With less than two months to go until the 2016 presidential election it is as if the circus has come to town. Regardless of your political affiliation, there is no denying that this presidential election year is unlike any in recent history. Presidential elections typically distract consumers and less of their attention is paid to spending, but this year the distraction is likely going to be bigger than ever. 

While elections are one of the many factors that can impact retail sales, looking at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Retail Trade Report for 1992 through 2014, there is evidence of some spending shifts in election years and the first year of a new presidency. Retail spending growth slowed from 9 percent to 6 percent in 2000, and then to 3 percent when George W. Bush took office in 2001, according to the report. Spending began a decline in 2008 and continued into 2009 when Barack Obama became president. The excitement, uncertainty, and general fanfare around U.S. presidential elections are generally the cause for consumer distraction.

My opinion is that the distraction caused by this year’s presidential election will be felt by retailers big and small. The debates alone will cause a disruption in spending, as people tune-in and shift their focus from some of their usual behavior to the debates. Some of the resulting sales loss will be made up, but it will be difficult to recover valuable impulse purchases. The loss of impulse spending during a presidential election is significant for the U.S. apparel industry since unplanned purchases account for 29 percent of annual dollar sales*. 

The question is will the eight weeks of the holiday shopping season be enough opportunity to recapture the losses from election distraction? The answer is that holiday shopping is enough of a distraction to recapture consumer attention, but retailers will need to work at it. They’ll need to merchandise innovative products, offer meaningful promotions, and spread out stock replenishments throughout the holiday shopping season.  In other words, the key is to turn a distraction into an attraction.

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service, 2015


Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Apparel , Retail


VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications
VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications

The VSCO girl subculture took hold this summer and has created opportunities for products and brands in a variety of industries including apparel, beauty, fashion accessories, footwear, sporting goods and technology. We asked our industry analysts to weigh in regarding the implications and opportunities for their industries.

‘Tis the Season to Treasure Hunt
‘Tis the Season to Treasure Hunt

Off-price apparel sales are up, some retailers are expanding doors and moving online, and more consumers are planning on shopping off-price over the holidays.

Influencing Up: The Younger Generation’s Impact on Sustainable Fashion
Influencing Up: The Younger Generation’s Impact on Sustainable Fashion

Brands like Everlane are changing the perception of sustainable apparel, and younger consumers are paying close attention with passion, and their wallets.

What Does the Future Hold for Amazon Prime Day?
What Does the Future Hold for Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon's Prime Day has evolved into a shopping holiday. Four of NPD's Industry Advisors share their insights and expectations for the future of this retail event.

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.