Tis’ the Season to yearn for normalcy, said every single soul living through the pandemic.
For the second year, the holiday season is being ushered in along with the concerning undertones of a still lingering global pandemic. While many families insist on celebrating the holiday’s arrival as expected, there are indeed new challenges ahead.
The vaccinations, despite being politicized – have yielded a sense of comfort for families everywhere. Restaurants and stores are open, professional sports teams are welcoming packed audiences again, and theatres are fully operable. The travel industry is approaching full demand once again.
Citizens everywhere are ready to spend the money saved during quarantine and lavish their loved ones with gifts.
The pandemic didn’t stop the spending habits of American families during the 2020 holiday season, and spending projections are even greater this holiday season. According to Adobe Analytics – online sales will hit $207 billion in the U.S. during the 2021 holiday season – a 10 percent year-over-year increase.
While this holiday season almost guarantees to generate healthy spending for the commercial state of the country – there are, however, obstacles that the consumer should keep in mind.
Heavy export volumes both in the United States and worldwide have an abundance of cargo ships docked and not moving at the speed of the fast-approaching holidays. Consumers were advised to begin online Christmas shopping well before Halloween to ensure that items are delivered in time for Christmas.
As a result of skyrocketing shipping container rates and delays at ports – as expected, the price of apparel and footwear items has increased. In late October, The American Apparel & Footwear Association, which represents firms such as Gap Inc., Bloomingdale’s Inc. and Macy’s Inc., warned of empty shelves and higher prices during the holiday shopping season.
This is important because a lack of high-demand items can, unfortunately, result in price-gouging and desperation shopping. Many shoppers have lists that they’d like to stick to; however, the popularity of online reselling can be an overwhelming feat for the desperate shopper.
There is constant discussion about the shortage in America right now.
Perhaps it is more of a misconception that the country is running out of things because it is not unfamiliar for grocery stores to have a limited supply of certain items. Shoppers report that their neighborhood stores don’t have certain items and that what is in stock is much pricier than average.
The truth is America isn’t running out of everything, but Americans are buying more than usual. Maybe the pandemic and its lengthy stay have subconsciously instilled in people a nervousness about running out of essentials.
It is essential to keep these things in mind when heading to the store for the signature holiday ham or turkey. Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. According to a Wells Fargo report, the cost of turkeys has nearly doubled since 2019 because of both demand and the fact that people are having bigger gatherings and need bigger turkeys. (I relocated my family to Texas, where everything is bigger!) The supply chain and labor shortage issues will indeed contribute to more expensive Thanksgiving Day meals.
With proper planning and honest budgeting – holiday spending doesn’t have to exhaust your resources. It’s normal to desire a holiday that pushes the pandemic farther back into their minds. You may be tempted to pay more for those signature shoes that your children want. Your work schedule may make grocery shopping less of a priority, forcing you to pick up what’s left. Still – stick to your budget. In addition to rising prices in the malls, online, and grocery stores – gas prices are also non-negotiable.
The holidays are but a season – and regardless of where we are in the pandemic come 2022, you’ll want your finances to be in order. Enjoy the time spent with your loved ones more so than spending dollars.