Rising unemployment and the sudden onset of economic uncertainty isn’t expected to put a chill on the upcoming Christmas shopping season. Experts evaluating the retail market think Norwegians will spend just as much, or more, than ever before.
The national retail trade organization Virke predicted this week that Norwegians will spend a total of NOK 55.5 billion during the Christmas season, or a whopping NOK 10,700 each on average. The total isn’t just for gifts, but also for clothing, decorations, food and drink.
There are regional variations, with residents of Northern Norway expected to spend more than NOK 9,000 each and residents of the Oslo metropolitian area spending more than NOK 11,000. Despite a recent dip in consumer spending, the Christmas spirit (or the sheer pressure of the season) is likely to leave Norwegians opening their wallets.
The increase from December last year is expected to be minimal, however, at only around NOK 230 each. “Times are more uncertain, and that will have an effect,” Silje Sandmæl, consumer economist at Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, told news bureau NTB. She said Norwegians are also saving more, even though overall household debt level in Norway has hit an historic high.
Bror Stende of Virke isn’t worried, though. Virke predicts retail volume in December will rise by 3.5 percent, a lower rate than in previous years, but growth nonetheless.