ALTHOUGH I DON'T have the traffic count, I believe a fair few Irish have started Christmas shopping in NYC and online instead of in the high streets of Ireland. (That's Grafton Street at left. We are still looking for the perfect coffee in the perfect diner in New York City.) And why not? New York prices have dropped more than 30% since I last hit Macy's in 2005. Online Christmas shopping carts, selected from some of my favourite merchants, have reduced footfall through the front doors of many merchants. In the UK, "consumer confidence has slumped to its lowest level since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 because of growing pessimism over the health of the economy." Ditto that for Ireland. And I believe researchers like Amarach and Amas will document that although seasonal shopping will achieve a record high this year, much of it is online.
Here is what I sense around the market town of Cashel where I live.
1. People are more pessimistic about the general financial situation in the country. They express their hesitations by slowing down on their purchases of large items.
2. Essentials like petrol, heating oil, milk and bread are up markedly, causing charities to use this fact as their opening statement when asking for donations.
3. Several racks of Cadbury chocoloates are reduced to January price levels already. They are either overstocked, overly pessimistic or a bad batch.
Bonus Photos: Christmas in Ireland.