South Korea turned in higher-than-expected industrial production data on Friday, and some economists believe it may presage a stronger Christmas shopping season in Europe and the U.S.
"A general pick up can only happen if there are more orders coming in from external sources. That in particular indicates a healthy Christmas," Wai Ho Leong, an economist at Barclays, told CNBC.
Analysts have been parsing data points for clues as to whether shoppers will open their wallets during the key holiday shopping season, with many divided on the outlook.
In the U.S., consumer morale has been hit by higher payroll taxes and health-care costs, and a lack of confidence in Washington lawmakers. Add continued uneasiness about the job market and sluggish economic growth, and this year's Christmas spending could be fit for a Grinch.
But at the same time, competition for shoppers' dollars is intense, with some retailers preparing to offer their best promotions in years.
(Read more: Overstocked retailers offering epic holiday bargains)
In October, South Korea's industrial production grew by 1.8 percent (seasonally-adjusted) from September, above the 1.5 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, production rose 3.0 percent from the same period the year before, above the 2.0 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll.