According to recent data, the holiday shopping season is off to a slower start this year, indicating a return to normalcy in the economy. The pandemic has had a noticeable impact on the holiday shopping season, as evidenced by a drop in US retail sales for the first time since March. Senior economist Robert Spendlove believes that this change in the timing of holiday shopping reflects an economy still affected by the pandemic.
Spendlove draws a comparison between a pandemic and a stone being thrown into a lake – with the ripple effects of the impact still being felt. Although the pandemic may be over, we are still dealing with its consequences. Despite this, improvements in employment, inflation and retail spending data suggest that overall, the economy is returning to normal. However, Spendlove notes that achieving a soft landing everyone is hoping for remains elusive.
Although holiday shopping during the early months is more common during the height of the pandemic, and last-minute shopping and gift picking are not options, Spending believes that returning to a more traditional time frame this year is a good sign. With predictions that spending will pick back up after Thanksgiving and potentially continue into December, it appears that real economic normalcy may finally be on our horizon.