Here’s a weird question. I’ve been looking at this all day. Something sketchy is afoot. I waited specifically for CBS to report so that I could share an exact comparison.
In 2017 total holiday sales were reported as follows:
2017 CBS – […] They had a lot of company across the country. Total retail sales this holiday season added up to a record $598 billion dollars — up $33 billion from last year. (link)
In 2018 total holiday sales were reported as follows:
2018 WSJ and CBS – […] Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season, according to Mastercard. The figures suggest a stock-market swoon and partial government shutdown haven’t curbed consumer confidence and spending. (link)
See the issue?..
In all 2017 financial media reports $598 billion was the holiday spending total. And in all of 2018 financial media reports $850 billion was the total holiday spending.
That’s a difference of $252 billion more spent in 2018. An increase of 42%.
A forty-two percent increase !!
Now, you might say it’s simply a difference in the media source. However, CBS is cited specifically to avoid this possible disparity.
Additionally, the exact same analyst is quoted in both years:
2017 – “”This is literally the best season since before the recession,” business owner Craig Johnson said. “Johnson’s company, Customer Growth Partners, analyzes all things retail. He credits low unemployment and a booming stock market for this humbug-free holiday season.
“The single biggest drive of retail sales is growth in real disposable income,” he said. “And when real income goes up, people have money in their pocket and they’re able to spend it.” (link to 2017 analysis)
-AND in 2018-
2018– ““Wall Street is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, while Mr. and Mrs. Main Street are happy with their jobs, enjoying their best wage increases in a decade,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail research and consulting firm. A recent drop in gas prices has helped last-minute spending, he said.” (link to 2018 analysis – and additional citation via identical CBS)
If $598 billion was spent in 2017; and $850 billion was spent in 2018; that means this years holiday shopping increase was truthfully, factually, and actually a jaw-dropping 42% !!
Why would the overall media, and specifically the Wall Street focused financial media, downplay results that reflected a stunning 42% increase in consumer spending?
Could the institutional bias be that overt?
Then again…. perhaps the underlying truth explains this:
Do you realize the scale of this?