Confidence climbs in December
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased moderately in November, improved in December. The Index now stands at 96.5 (1985=100), up from 92.6 in November.
A year ago, the December 2014 index was at 93.1
Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board accentuated the positive. “Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are expecting little change in both business conditions and the labor market,” she said. “Expectations regarding their financial outlook are mixed, but the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”
The Present Situation Index increased from 110.9 last month to 115.3 in December, while the Expectations Index improved to 83.9 from 80.4 in November.
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was mixed in December. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 25.0 percent to 27.3 percent. However, those saying business conditions are “bad” also increased from 16.9 percent to 19.8 percent. Consumers, however, were more positive about the labor market. The proportion claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.0 percent to 24.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 24.7 percent from 25.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 17.3 percent to 16.3 percent. However, the proportion expecting a reduction in income decreased from 11.8 percent to 9.7 percent.
U.S. retail sales to hit nearly $5 trillion in 2015
More than a fifth of the world’s retail sales occurred in the United States this year.
That’s according to the latest forecast of retail and e-commerce sales from eMarketer, which estimates that total U.S. retail sales hit $4.8 trillion in 2015 and will approach $5 trillion in value in 2016.
The vast majority of U.S. retail stores still occur in physical stores, according to eMarketer. Retail ecommerce in 2015 accounted for 7.1% of all retail sales in the United States, but the share is growing. By 2019, 9.8% of US retail sales will be transacted over the Internet, eMarketer reported.
In other findings:
• Retail sales in the United States grew 3.3% this year, eMarketer estimates, and growth will pick up slightly next year to 3.5%.
• Despite steady growth of 3%, which puts the United States ahead of Canada’s rate of increase, the country’s retail market will lose share of the worldwide total over eMarketer’s forecast period as the retail sector in developing markets grows more quickly.
• In Western Europe, 7.5% of retail sales were transacted online in 2015. In Asia-Pacific, the share is 10.2%, the highest in the world.