CHICAGO (CBS) – After two years of cutting back on expenses, Americans are starting to splurge a little. We’re spending more on little luxuries, and as CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports, some of us are just tired of being frugal.
Clipping coupons and looking for sales has been the approach the last couple of years, but some shoppers are sick of it. They’re ready to let loose a little.
Jane Coin lives right in the middle of it all, and sees the bustle at Daley Plaza’s Christkindlmarket.
“I can see it from my condo when I look out in the morning and the evening,” said Coin. “I am impressed with how busy it’s been.”
Raymond Walschlager was out shopping in Daley Plaza.
“I think it’s a little bit better than it was last year,” he said. “Look at all the people right here, and State Street is pretty crowded right now, too. That’s where we’re going next.”
Bentley University Professor Susan Dobscha studies consumer buying habits.
“They’re sick of being frugal. They’re sick of being told to tighten their belts, they’re sick of being told to buy environmental. There are backlashes against a lot of those things,” Dobscha said.
According to the National Retail Federation, sales at discount stores over this year’s Black Friday weekend dropped 3 percent compared to last year, while sales at department stores rose 3 percent.
Shopper Karen Medo said, “I have a 4-year-old grandson, so I spend a lot of money.”
The trend over the past couple of years has been to focus on necessities, but now it seems luxury is back.
One retail analysis company, Coremetrics, reports that online sales of one luxury good – jewelry – increased 17 percent on Black Friday and 38 percent on Cyber Monday.
Erin Kannett is the manager of Sofia on Oak Street.
“They are interested in unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that nobody else has that’s worth the money,” she said.
Kannett says overall shoppers are happy.
“It’s so nice to see,” she said. “People are coming in and they want to shop.”
Shopper Lisa Marquart said, “I think shoppers are trying to get into the Christmas spirit, and be cheerful.”
In other evidence that shoppers are in the mood to splurge a little, Starbucks is reporting a 17 percent increase in revenue. Victoria’s Secret says its revenue rose 12 percent last quarter, and some cosmetic companies are also reporting increases.