BOSTON (MainStreet) -- The push is on this season for shoppers to fill their Christmas gift lists with U.S.-made products.
It goes without saying that a massive amount of money is up for grabs for the holiday shopping blitz.
On Thursday the National Retail Federation revised earlier estimates to release an updated -- more optimistic -- look at holiday spending. It now projects seasonal spending to be on pace for more than $469 billion. Proponents of keeping things domestic this holiday season say that if even small portion of holiday shopping zeroed in on U.S.-made products there would be a significant boost to the economy.
David Seliktar is founder and CEO of Keep America, an online retailer that sells only products it verifies as being made in the U.S. The site was initially intended to go live in February, but Seliktar says he saw enough interest and demand to warrant a soft launch in time for the holiday season.
That move proved to be shrewd, as it has garnered him national media attention including interviews on MSNBC and ABC News.
"The American shopper is realizing that the only way to really get out of the mess we are in right now is to reinvest in ourselves," Seliktar says. "There is no time to wait for bills to be passed that never really do. With all due respect to politicians, there's a lot of red tape to cut through until things get done. Things are, unfortunately, not where they should be in the country and really the only way to get out of this is to do it ourselves by buying American."
Illustrating his point is a video Seliktar made (it went viral after being cited by ABC) in which he gave randomly selected shoppers on the streets of New York $704 -- an amount corresponding to an estimate by the NRF on how much the typical American will spend this holiday season. The impromptu study group was tasked with spending it exclusively on items made domestically. The participants wound up frustrated, and it took most several hours of shopping to achieve the challenge.
"We wanted to show how hard it was to find products made in the U.S.A. even with free money," he says.