New York

New Year’s Eve shopping kicks off in an anti-inflation spirit

NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday marks a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, but uncertainty remains.

The U.S. job market remains strong, consumer spending is resilient, and inflation is slowing. But soaring food, rent, gas, and other household costs are hurting shoppers.

As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are more selective in what they buy.

Shoppers are saving even more, not only are they running out of credit cards when the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, but they are also using “buy now, pay later,” such as Afterpay, which allows them to pay for goods in installments. Pay” services are increasingly being used. to cool the US economy.

Financial hardships like this can help drive shoppers to look for bargains.

While shopping for detergents and other household items at Walmart in Secaucus, N.J., earlier this week, Isela Dalencia said she would postpone buying holiday gifts until Cyber ​​Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Then, unlike last year when Black started her purchases before Friday, she will wait until the week before Christmas again for her best deals.

“I shop less,” said Darencia, who said she plans to spend about $700 on holiday gifts this year, a third less than last year.

Manhattan social worker Katie Leach, who was also browsing the aisles at Walmart, said she will start holiday shopping the first week of December as usual. With prices soaring, we’ll be relying more on bargains, credit cards, and ‘buy now, pay later’ services to get us through the shopping season.

“Money isn’t as advanced as it was last year,” Leach said.

This year’s trend contrasts with a year ago, when consumers were buying early for fear of not getting what they needed in a jammed supply network. The stores were having a hard time bringing in their merchandise, so they didn’t need to discount too much.

But some pandemic habits have taken hold. Many retailers who closed their stores on Thanksgiving and instead pushed discounts on their websites to thin out store crowds are still holding onto these strategies despite a return to normal. .

Major retailers such as Walmart and Target are closing stores again on Thanksgiving. And many have turned away from Doorbusters.

Against today’s economic conditions, the National Retail Federation, the largest retail group, said holiday sales growth slowed to a 6% to 8% range from a blazing 13.5% growth a year ago. I expect to. However, these figures, including online spending, are not adjusted for inflation, so real spending could even be lower than he was a year ago.

Adobe Analytics forecasts a 2.5% increase in online sales from November 1st to December 31st. That’s slowing from his 8.6% pace last year, when shoppers weren’t convinced to return to brick-and-mortar stores.

Analysts believe that the five-day Black Friday weekend, which includes Cyber ​​Monday, will be a key barometer of shopper spending, especially this year. His two months from Thanksgiving to Christmas represent about 20% of annual retail sales.

Black Friday still holds a strong position among U.S. shoppers, but has lost momentum over the past decade as stores open on Thanksgiving and shopping shifts to Amazon and other online retailers. Stores further dilute the day’s status by promoting Black Friday sales throughout the month. This year, stores started selling earlier than last year in an effort to distribute purchases to shoppers.

Many shoppers like Lolita Cordero from Brooklyn, New York are attending Black Friday.

“I shop early and try to get things on sale, discount, or clearance. I use coupons,” Cordero says. “I’ve never done Black Friday. It’s a mess and I hear people get hurt.”

Still, some experts believe Black Friday will still be the busiest shopping day of the year, according to Sensormatic, which tracks customer traffic. As concerns about COVID-19 abate, consumers are also returning to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, for the first time since 2016, the United States closed more stores than it opened last year. And the gap is only widening this year.


AP Personal Finance Writer Cora Lewis contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. New Year’s Eve shopping kicks off in an anti-inflation spirit

Back to top button