Father’s Day 2023: Consumers Meet Atlas
BY BILL RUBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
U.S. consumers are a lot like Atlas, the character in Greek mythology. Atlas was a Titan and they ruled the universe until Zeus, a fellow Titan, joined the Olympians and defeated the Titans for control. Except for Atlas, all Titans were banished to a faraway placed called Tartarus which served as an eternal prison. Zeus enslaved Atlas and he was condemned to hold the Earth on his shoulders forever. No coffee breaks. No PTO days. No Google searches on the internet.
Consumers meanwhile are committed (condemned?) to propping up the U.S. economy. Economists say consumer spending comprises as much as 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Econ 101 scholars will recall GDP is defined as the measure of the monetary value of goods and services produced in a region, state, or country over a given period of time.
While the GDP information is valuable, it is neither a headache nor heartache. Even armchair economists expect the GDP to rise from quarter to quarter or year over year. Consumers will find a way to spend, even if it hurts. Meanwhile, for months, economists have forecast headwinds in the economy while searching for the iceberg named Recession. In mid-May, one news outlet reported consumer spending in March declined compared to one year earlier. This suggests consumers are more cautious, mostly due to inflation. Prices continue to rise or have not settled back to more normal numbers. Many products are must haves and consumers continue to purchase them. Translation: Tired old Atlas continues to carry the Earth with no rest in sight, but consumers may be seeking a rest area located miles away.
Headwinds aside, consumers will find a way for purchases. Case in point was holiday shopping in 2022, starting with Black Friday through December 24th. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported a record $936.3 billion was spent. Along came the so-called Big Football Game on February 12th, and another record of $16.5 billion was spent on everything from appetizers to team apparel. Football yielded to Valentine’s Day, just two days later, and $25.9 billion was spent, making it still another record for Cupid and romantics. Mothers got their day back on May 14th. Guess what? Another record. This time $35.7 billion was spent on well-deserving moms.
Consumer spending alert! Father’s Day is near – June 18th to be precise. As always, it’s the thought that counts, and youngsters through young adults and beyond will come through. A record of $20+ billion will be spent this year honoring dad, a/k/a pops, big guy, papi, and commander in chief.
What does dad want? In Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley there are plenty of choices. Within easy driving distance there’s major league baseball plus a minor league affiliate, town ball, and rebel ball options. A four+ hour drive gets fans to Milwaukee and the Brewers. Try steak, seafood, and poultry on the deck at home, even if the big guy won’t yield the grilling utensils. Let him do the cooking, but agree the ala carte options fall to the younger generation. Golf. Driving range. Boating. Fishing. Breweries. Distilleries. Wineries. Ride a bike. Rent one. Try the loop trail from the Lift Bridge in Stillwater-Houlton to the St. Croix Crossing. Enjoy the views. First one to find the survey marker designating Wisconsin and Minnesota gets ice cream. The list goes on.
Regardless of the choices, know that resilient consumers as strong as Atlas will ensure a successful Father’s Day 2023.