Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

The True Cost of the 12 Days of Christmas in 2017

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

Purchasing the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” will only cost 0.6% more than in 2016, according to the 34th annual holiday economic analysis by The PNC Financial Services Group.  PNC calculated the 2017 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at $34,558.65. That’s just $200 more than last year’s cost and less than the government’s Consumer Price Index, which increased 2.2% through September for the past 12 months. “The U.S. economy is growing at a sustainable pace, fueled by higher consumer confidence, low unemployment, modest wage gains and low interest rates,” said…

Credit Card Delinquencies Are Rising

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Laura Lam

While it’s easy to ignore when the stock market is at record highs and unemployment is reassuringly low, household debt is on the rise.  The Center for Microeconomic Data’s (CMD) latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit reveals that total household debt rose by $114 billion (0.9%) to $12.84 trillion in the second quarter of 2017.  This increase put overall household debt $164 billion above its peak in the third quarter of 2008, and 15.1% above its trough in the second quarter of 2013 Consumer debt, in many ways, should generate more concern – during the good times.  The persistence of…

Halloween Scares Up Record Sales

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Laura Lam

This may not be good news for your waistline, but your sweet tooth might appreciate it: Halloween candy sales are crackerjack this year.  Halloween candy sales are expected to rise 4.1% from last year, reaching a seasonally adjusted $4.1 billion, according to HIS Markit data.  “Consumer confidence is riding high, so consumers are likely to splurge a little more on edible goodies,” said David Deull, a senior economist with IHS Markit. The sales increase is particularly impressive given that candy prices have dropped 0.9% compared with last year, marking the second consecutive Halloween candy price decline, according to IHS Markit…

Best States for Halloween Candy

Posted on October 27, 2017 by Laura Lam

A recent analysis of Halloween candy purchases found that Oregon tops the list of best states to go trick-or-treating in based on how much money residents spend on candy, with 3 Musketeers as the favorite there.  Trailing in second place is neighboring Washington – choosing 100 Grand bars as the top treat – but Oregonians spend on average $11.64 more per person on Halloween sweets. The top states and amounts spent per person on candy: Oregon ($40.29) Washington ($28.65) New Jersey ($24.36) Utah ($23.73) California ($19.72) New York ($19.08) Pennsylvania ($18.78) Illinois ($18.19) Virginia ($17.76) Wisconsin ($16.74). What state ranks…

Consumer Delinquencies Improve in 2Q

Posted on October 16, 2017 by Laura Lam

Delinquencies in closed-end loans held steady in the second quarter as bank card delinquencies fell and home-related categories continued their return to normal levels, according to results from the American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. Overall, delinquencies fell in 8 of the 11 individual consumer loan categories.  The composite ratio, which tracks delinquencies in 8 closed-end installment loan categories, remained at 1.56% of all accounts – well below the 15-year average of 2.16%. “Delinquencies remain below historical levels as consumers continue to show great command of their finances,” said James Chessen, ABA’s chief economist. “The outlook remains very positive,…

Meet the Next Generation of Homebuyers: Gen Z

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Laura Lam

In its most recent study, Zillow Group examined the newest generation to enter the housing market – Generation Z.  Generation Z is considered to be those born from 1995 to 2010, meaning the oldest in the generation are now 22 years old.  The Zillow Group Report on Consumer and Housing Trends 2017 shows this new generation now makes up more than 21% of the U.S. population, and is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in our history. They are beginning to enter the housing market – as renters. However, this generation is just as likely as older generations to…

PNC Has the Edge in Bank Customer Satisfaction

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Laura Lam

National retail banks have invested heavily in digital transformation and marketing initiatives designed to position themselves as the best one-stop shops for all consumer banking, credit card, loan and investment needs. When it comes to real-world customer satisfaction, though, the biggest drivers of success are low problem incidence and consistency across all lines of bank business, according to the inaugural J.D. Power 2017 National Bank Satisfaction Study. In the complex field of competition among the nation’s biggest banks, Pittsburgh-based PNC just edged out New York behemoth Chase Bank – the nation’s largest bank with more than $2 trillion in assets…

What to Buy in October

Posted on October 06, 2017 by Laura Lam

When it comes to shopping, October is an odd month sitting smack in the middle of the back-to-school frenzy and the holiday extravaganza. But there are plenty of October deals to be had. The best buys range from leftover items from previous months to goods discounted in advance of the big shopping days to come. Halloween Stuff – Unless you bought a costume and decorations last November, when prices were at their lowest, be on the lookout for bargains this month. The closer the holiday, the bigger the deals, as retailers try to clear the shelves by Halloween. However you won’t find many…

Millennials Over-Extended and Frustrated with Home-Buying Process

Posted on October 04, 2017 by Laura Lam

Millennials poured some $514 billion into the U.S. housing market over the last year as the largest generation of home buyers, Zillow reported.  But new survey data shows their home-ownership aspirations are stymied by affordability issues, frustration with the buying and selling process, and a cutthroat housing market. More than half of young buyers (53%) make multiple offers to buy their first home, and only 2 in 5 millennials (39%) are able to make the recommended 20% or more down payment.  The results of the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends 2017 show how the nation’s highly competitive housing…

Equifax Fallout: What You Need To Know

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Laura Lam

For many people, the news late that Equifax was hit with a data breach that may have compromised personal data of 143 million U.S. consumers brought on a heavy case of déjà vu.  From mid-May through July 2017, social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers were exposed in the breach.  It may have felt like one of the many previous data breaches including Yahoo, Target, and Home Depot.  However this breach looks to be a bit more severe than most of these others and it will have consequences in multiple…