Holiday season closes amidst a blockbuster turnout for small retail businesses globally. Even though the shortened holiday season may have pushed retail sales down a tad, business owners remain confident about their businesses going forward.
Scrooge remained with us as organized crime hijacked truckloads of holiday stuff and gift card scam artists manifest themselves bigly during this time of the year.
With the 2020 upon us, Americans should cleanup some financial loose ends and start goals, which not surprising is to build savings. Don’t forget to take up offers for special incentives from credit card issuers after the holiday by monitoring CardTrak.
Given the current state of economy and upcoming political season, things should remain hunky-dory, at least through the first-half of 2020 suggests Robert McKinley, President of bankcenter.com and CardBuzz.com, services of Ruebud Media. However, things could go haywire at anytime, and thus wise to stay conservative with personal finances in 2020, notes McKinley.
Small Business Saturday
U.S. shoppers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, November 30, 2019, reported spending a record high total of an estimated $19.6 billion, according to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express and the NFIB.
A record number of Britons came out in force to show their support for small independent businesses on the UK’s seventh annual Small Business Saturday this year (December 7, 2019). About 17.6 million shoppers across the UK hit their local high streets to provide an important boost for the nation’s 5.8 million small businesses. An estimated £800 million was spent in small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday.
Business Owners Outlook
Eight out of ten U.S. small business owners are entering the new decade on a high note, anticipating year-over-year revenue growth as they close out 2019. Entrepreneurs are confident about their business prospects, with expansion plans, revenue projections and intent to hire remaining strong and steady from last fall. While business owners also maintain a positive outlook for their local economies (52% vs. 54% in fall 2018).
Organized retail crime (ORC) affects almost all merchants and more than two-thirds of those surveyed have seen an increase in the past year. A new survey found 97% of retailers had been victimized by ORC in the past year and that 68% had seen an increase in ORC activity. Losses averaged $703,320 per $1 billion in sales, marking the fourth year in a row that the figure topped the $700,000 mark.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for consumers, it’s also the most dangerous. From gift card rackets to online fraud, consumers are under near-constant assault amid what some analysts are calling the country’s first trillion-dollar holiday season. The Department of Homeland Security has urged shoppers to be aware of potential holiday scams and malicious cyber-campaigns, particularly when browsing or shopping online.
2019 Clean Up
As 2019 ends, it’s an important time to take stock of your finances and make sure you’ve had a successful year in terms of managing your money. With just a few weeks left in 2019, you can still check a few key tasks off your financial to-do list if you haven’t already. Here are six that you should take care of before the ball drops on New Years and 2020 is ushered in.
While holiday spending and savings are looking strong, Americans still identified a number of places they broke the bank in 2019, including: dining out (27%), food/groceries (24%), entertainment (19%), clothing/apparel/shoes (16%), and vehicle expenses (16%). These budget-busters also contributed to this year’s top financial blunders, with not saving enough (22%) and not budgeting properly (11%) leading the mishaps.
Credit Card 2020 Incentives
Chase Freedom’s new quarterly categories for the start of 2020: gas stations, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services. This quarter’s categories allow cardmembers to earn cash back on everyday purchases both at home and on the go. Chase Freedom brought back gas stations – a cardmember favorite category – as well as select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services. Chase Freedom’s quarterly categories allow cardmembers to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in these categories from January 1 through March 31.