By Paul Pannone
Elation of the New Year and better wedding spending reports issued in 2010 could be coming to a crashing halt, as higher gas prices, declining home sales and unemployment slows down formal wedding planning. Forward-looking survey results show a small segment of the overall picture (minus all the variables). Outdated information could be leaving some businesses stranded, now that updated information and reality sets in.
Ongoing discussions with wedding vendors say May and June activity is sluggish this season. Many say they expected a better spring and early summer wedding season, encouraged by positive reports issued by wedding information sources releasing positive news at the end of 2010.
eWedNewz digs deeper into cases where allegations say the numbers were concocted, taking national numbers, reshuffling them and pawning them off as local market information. All say they’ve learned their lesson and look at all data, information and the most current conditions before making any decisions in the future.
Emerging economic news involving consumer confidence, the housing market and unemployment point to difficult times ahead; that is never good news for celebrating formal weddings.
The Conference Board Consumers’ short-term outlook, which had improved marginally in April, turned pessimistic in May. The proportion of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 17.0 percent from 19.2 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen increased to 15.5 percent from 14.0 percent.
Unemployment stands at 9% nationally and even higher in many local areas. The major contributing factor to lower unemployment hinges on the ability to create good-paying jobs, getting people off unemployment benefits. But disturbing news about job creation shows growth in the job market weakened in May.
Consumer spending is the major driving force behind the U.S economy with home pricing in the top five rated by importance. According to CNN Money , “Home prices have already reached their lowest level since the housing bubble burst, and are now at 2002 levels. Sellers will feel the pressure to make deals before their homes lose even more value.”
The grim economic factors aren’t helping the formal wedding business. Sheryl Davies says she’s watching the economic impact on couples. ”People are up to their ears in credit card debt. The internet is stealing retail clients. Weddings aren’t as important as they used to be. Austerity is in. This generation doesn’t feel the same way about weddings as previous ones. There is even a weirdness out there at the high end- a decorator told me that those $4000 weddings are few and far between.
Also, the bargain hunters don’t realize that you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware.
Compromising on their priorities is the norm today. More food, less punch and extras. All you have to do is listen to the U.S. news and it hurts consumption. We are more fortunate here as the great recession didn’t hit as hard and the cultural values are stronger but it is affecting everyone,” according to Davies.
Wedding analyst, Christine Boulton, told eWedNewz the shape of the economy and wedding spending are directly correlated. “Think about it; how can people spend more if they’re broke? Isn’t that essentially what it comes down to?” Boulton’s no-nonsense analysis done in real-time fashion takes into account prevailing reports, information and shifting variables– trumping outdated survey results and forward-looking statements.
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