Many economists and analysts predict this year’s holiday shopping season will be the busiest ever, with retail revenues hitting NOK 48.5 billion (USD 8 billion).
The retailers’ trade association is predicting sales growth of 24.3 percent compared to last December, or 17.8 percent when adjusted for population growth. Sales during the first week of December, closely watched by the industry, were up 10 percent already.
New records are also being set in the use of credit cards, with transactions up 9.1 percent by the end of November. Many Norwegians receive their paychecks on the 15th of the month, and only half the normal amount of tax is withheld in December, so retailers also expect sales to zoom when that money becomes available this week.
Curiously, though, a public opinion poll conducted by research firm Sensio for newspaper Nationen showed that fully eight out of 10 Norwegians questioned said they were limiting their Christmas shopping and gift-giving this year. Only 20 percent said they planned to spend more on gifts.
That doesn’t square with the revenue figures pouring in. Young women are the most eager shoppers, according to the Sensio poll, with 30 percent of those under age 30 saying they intended to spend more on Christmas this year.
Views and News staff