Dan Celia, president, and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries appeared on Monday afternoon's edition of CBN Newswatch to discuss Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the economy. He also encourages everyone to participate in the great American tradition of giving on Tuesday. CBN Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel. For a programming schedule, click here.
Thanksgiving has come and gone and so has one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the year. Besides delighting consumers, it also delivered some promising news that will likely make investors happy.
New reports show Black Friday was a huge success this year with $7.4 billion in online sales. And many people were still shopping in stores over the weekend, not just online.
But the question remains, how do Black Friday and Cyber Monday affect the economy? Does this show that consumer spending is still healthy?
In an interview on Monday afternoon's edition of CBN Newswatch, Dan Celia, president, and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries said consumer spending was up 17 percent on Thursday and Friday.
"More importantly, good old-fashioned stores set a record sales about 4.2 percent," Celia said. "And they're expecting today or they're hoping for $9.4 billion today on Cyber Monday."
When asked about the strength of the economy, Celia said the economy remains strong.
"There's no doubt about it. It's telling us that the economy is doing very, very well," he said. "It's kind of what we expected because consumer optimism, consumer sentiment, and confidence have been extremely good this year and it's carrying through now through the Christmas shopping season."
Celia explained that Black Friday is not what it used to be in terms of gauging the economy.
"Everything is starting so early," he said. "And as a matter of fact, there were Black Friday sales in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. I don't think Black Friday is what it used to be."
Celia also talked about the new trend in consumer sales.
"The trend is going toward the computer/phone sales," he noted. "What's interesting is that Amazon taught consumers how to buy online. And then what has happened this year, is Walmart.com and Target.com have come in like gangbusters and have taken advantage of that.
"Walmart's cyber sales are up 52 percent and Target was up about 48 percent. It's all just not all Amazon either. It's internet sales in general."
When asked about Giving Tuesday, Celia told CBN News he's encouraging people to take part in the great American tradition of giving.
"I am encouraging people to take part," he said. "I have by the way of email and on the program every day to give to the great ministries they support, CBN and other ministries that they support on a regular basis."
"Tomorrow is a great day to do it. Just participate," he added. "Take a deep breath from all of the spending and say 'Today's the day I'm going to give back some of the incredible resources God has given me."