To many, the holidays mean holiday shopping, but are the issues shoppers faced during the pandemic, like lack of supply and shipping delays, a part of Christmas past? Will inflated prices impact the seller, the customer or both? Will shoppers spend more or less this year?
Dan Rice, director of LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business Behavioral Research Lab, shared his expertise on the shopping season in a recent Q&A published by LSU.
What do you expect to see this year for holiday shopping?
Rice: The National Retail Federation is predicting 3% to 4% growth in revenues, with many consumers planning to start shopping before November. So, we’re seeing this trend of earlier holiday shopping promotions from retailers, and that trend will likely continue. There will also likely continue to be a large number of shoppers in the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, with 66% of shoppers planning to shop that week, up more than 15% from last year, according to a Deloitte Survey. We also continue to see predictions of a larger percentage growth in e-commerce than with traditional holiday shopping, with the former’s growth outpacing the latter’s nearly 4-to-1, according to Insider Intelligence. As more people shop online, this should continue.
Is there anything different this year than in years past?
Rice: Perhaps the most surprising is the continued spending while there’s still some threat of recession. There is also predicted to be a slower growth rate due to the winding down of government stimulus packages and the end of student loan deferments. These seem to be tempering predictions for some of the growth rates that we’ve seen over the last few years. Consumers are also showing a larger percentage growth for services vs. products and expecting higher prices. So, while shoppers predict they’ll spend more, according to Deloitte, they also expect to buy fewer gifts to stay close to budget. Add into this the ongoing wars in the world and what has so far been an exceptionally warm fall, and patterns for certain categories of products could be drastically affected. See the full Q&A.