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Shoppers Suffer From Frugality Fatigue

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(credit: AP Graphics Bank)

(credit: AP Graphics Bank)

BOSTON (CBS) — During the recession these past couple of years, most shoppers have watched their holiday budgets closely. Now, many of them are suffering from what’s being called “Frugality Fatigue.”

It comes from always clipping coupons and hunting for sales. One shopper told us she is ready to buy a few nice things this year. Another said she is ready to splurge on gifts for her niece and nephew.

“They’re sick of being frugal,” said Bentley University marketing professor Susan Dobscha. “They’re sick of being told to tighten their belts. They’re sick of being told to buy environmental. There are backlashes against a lot of those things.”

One of the gift giving trends has been to focus on necessities and to stay away from anything that was too frivolous. But this year, one survey shows requests for jewelry are up 13 percent.

Jack Winer, a manager at luxury jeweler Lux Bond & Green, says shoppers are definitely interested in items like “Inside-Out” diamond hoop earrings which are studded with gems on both sides. “Luxury is back, absolutely,” he said.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Boston fashion designer Sara Campbell is seeing clients buy entire outfits this year, instead of just one or two pieces. She says shoppers are interested in “The blouse, the pant, the necklace, the earring. We are seeing many more pieces that go together for that outfit.”

Campbell sees a shift in the attitudes of shoppers in this year. “Frugality means fear… and I think we are just tired of being nervous.”

Treating your loved ones, or yourself, to luxury doesn’t always mean spending a lot either. Winer said unique tree ornaments which sell $10-$12 are very popular this year. “The luxury brand is really what people are looking for,” he explained.

Dobscha believes people want to feel like they are pampering themselves in some way. She said shoppers might still skip the expensive pair of shoes, but “They may go buy Godiva chocolates… because people still want to spend money to make themselves feel better.”

Overall, holiday sales are off to a strong start. Sales in November were up almost 6 percent from a year ago. Cyber Monday was also huge with more than $1 billion spent online in one day. That actually set a record.

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