As the year draws to a close, holiday shopping is off to a slower start than usual. This trend reflects the return of normalcy in the economy, as evidenced by U.S. retail sales falling for the first time since March. While holiday shopping has typically started in September in recent years, it seems that this is not the case this year.
Senior Economist Robert Spendlove attributes this shift in timing to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the economy. He compares it to a rock being thrown into a lake – with the ripple effects of the impact still being felt, even though the pandemic may be over. Despite months-early holiday shopping being more common during the height of the pandemic, with last-minute shopping and picking up of gifts not being an option, Spendlove believes that returning to a more traditional timeline is a positive sign for the economy’s future state.
The return to normalcy is evident in improvements observed in employment data, inflation, and retail spending. However, achieving a soft landing that everyone hopes for remains elusive. With Thanksgiving approaching and people beginning to spend more money on gifts, it is predicted that shopping will pick up soon. A return to more normal holiday shopping trends could signal a true sense of economic normalcy on the horizon.
In conclusion, while there have been some concerns about holiday shopping patterns this year due to ongoing pandemic impacts, it appears that we are seeing some improvement in these areas. As we move forward into 2022 and beyond, it will be important to continue monitoring these developments closely and working towards achieving greater economic stability and growth for all Americans.