Q: Historically, do election years have an effect on buying cycles and consumer confidence? If so, what can we expect this election year?
Steve Pruitt: That’s a good question. A lot of different factors play into the outcome. Let’s take a look at a couple examples:
Example 1— The stock market is booming, unemployment is down and the conversation is all about how great the country is doing. Also, the current president is running for reelection and his (or her) approval ratings keep going up. This is a pretty positive situation and consumer confidence is likely to rise. In this scenario, chances are business would be good. (Think of all the tuxedo sales for parties to come!)
Example 2—The stock market is down 2,000 points. Terrorists are threatening us and the government is completely divided. The president has low approval ratings, and he is not running for reelection. The candidates on both sides are attacking each other venomously. This situation would likely lead to poor consumer confidence, and a poor business outlook.
So, where do you think we are at this year?
The good news is that no matter what the general political atmosphere is you can create a bubble of positivity in your store and among your staff. Steer away from talking politics with customers, and instead focus on the beautiful product you have in stock and chatting about the good things that are going on in your store and your community. The more exposure customers have to a positive outlook, the better they will feel, and this would make them more comfortable about spending.
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