The holiday shopping season is off to a slower start this year, indicating a return to normalcy in the economy. Despite months-early shopping being more common during the pandemic, with last-minute shopping and picking up of gifts not being an option, Senior Economist Robert Spendlove believes that the return to a more traditional timeline this year is a good sign.
The pandemic has had a noticeable impact on the timing of holiday shopping, as evidenced by U.S. retail sales falling for the first time since March. In the past couple of years, holiday shopping would have started as early as September, however, this year that does not seem to be the case. Spendlove draws a comparison between the pandemic and a rock being thrown into a lake- with the ripple effects of the impact still being felt. While the pandemic may be over, we are still dealing with its aftermath.
However, improvements are being observed in employment data, inflation, and retail spending. Overall, the economy is returning to a state of normalcy, but everyone hopes for an elusive soft landing that has yet to be achieved. With more normal holiday shopping trends predicted after Thanksgiving, it seems like true economic normalcy is on the horizon.