As the U.S. unemployment rate slowly drops and with incomes on the rise, 2012 offers a few hopeful signs for the nation’s economic outlook– except for one: consumer spending remains flat. Many Americans are taking time to save their extra income rather than spend it, but this could end up having an adverse effect on growth, considering consumer spending makes up almost 70 percent of the country’s economic activity.
So, if Americans aren’t willing to spend, then what about tourists? An executive order signed by President Obama on January 19 could make it easier for Chinese and Brazilian visitors to acquire visas and in turn help drive American retail sales over the next decade.
This is good news for designer brands and luxury retailers such as Kate Spade and Saks Fifth Avenue, two companies that are currently navigating the highly competitive e-commerce and physical retail spaces as well as tapping into underserved markets in emerging economies. The Women’s Wear Daily Digital Forum 2012, available on demand at FORA.tv on February 3, looks to cover some of issues such as improving brand visibility in international markets.