Holiday Shopping Could Take Hit As Presidential Election Results Drag Out

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Could a cliff-hanger of a presidential election turn out to be a buzz killer for the holiday shopping season?

A recent survey by Adobe Analytics found that just over a quarter of consumers surveyed – 26 percent – said the election would impact their holiday spending.

There is traditionally a short dip in spending the day after Election Day, experts say.

But with the outcome of the presidential race having turned into a cliffhanger, some fear the typical next-day election hangover could wind up getting significantly extended.

And as far as election anxiety goes, the tension over the outcome of the presidential vote is likely to remain a factor for at least a few more days, given the status of vote counting in states across the country.

Sizable blocks of absentee or mail-in ballots remain to be counted in such key states as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona as of Wednesday afternoon, with the count in the Keystone State not expected to be done until Friday, if not later.

Greg Portell, lead partner in the global consumer practice of Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm, told CNBC that the extended wait for final election results “will absolutely pause consumer spending.”

“Consumers have been on a great run of spending coming out of the lockdowns,” Portell told the business news cable network. “We were looking at a great holiday season. All of that is on pause until we see some clarity on who is going to win.”

Still, some pause on part of shoppers following Election Day is par for the course, Adobe Analytics found in a survey released late last month.

Adobe, which monitors sales at 80 of the biggest online retailers in the United States, noted that dollars spent shopping online plunged 14 percent the day after the 2016 election.

Even Congressional midterm elections can put a damper on shopping, with a 6 percent decline in retail dollars spent online the day following the 2018 midterms, Adobe found.

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