Yesterday, on January 14, 2014, the U.S Census Bureau released Retail Sales data for the month of December, 2014. It was disappointing and unexpected. Retail sales fell 0.9% (-0.9%) in December (+0.4% in previous month). “Core” retail sales (excludes the prices of autos and gas), fell 1.0% (-1.0%) in December (0.1% in previous month).
Plunging oil prices led to to a 6.5% drop in gasoline sales, the largest drop since 2008. In December, many people and media were saying that the holiday sales were going to be strong. Economic recovery and the falling gas prices would lead consumers to spend their hard earned money in other areas, such as department stores, etc. Yesterday’s release told us otherwise. Excluding auto and gas, retail sales fell 0.3%, (expected gain around 0.4%). Retailers that did well, are bars, restaurants and stores that sell home furnishings. December is one of the months that many people party. Therefore bars and restaurants did well. Many people might like to start their new year by clean and fresh furnishings in their home. That’s why home furnishings did well. I believe the drop in retail sales are only temporary, for now. We never know what future might hold.
I believe technology will be successful more than anything (except needs; foods and drinks). Late 1990s and early 2000s transformed, especially young people into whole new generation. 2015 will be the beginning stage of new era of technology (again). Drones and 3-D printing, google glass and “The Internet of Things” will start to go into mass-market. I think we are too early for drive-less cars to go into masses (maybe, in 2 years). People will be wanting to try the new technology. 3-D printing will lead to many inventions, making certain market more competitive. Drones and google glass will probably transfer people into being photographer or not. New things will be added into existing products, emotionally leading people to buy them.
One wrong move from the government or large companies (that have significant impact on the economy including jobs, etc) will either slow down and shut down “economic recovery”, leading to another crisis.