SAN FRANCISCO– Despite high inflation, mass tech layoffs and a weak economic outlook, more Americans opened their wallets and shopped this year than in previous years.
According to the annual survey released Friday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights, 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday & Analytics.
The total number of shoppers increased by nearly 17 million as of 2021 and is the highest number since NRF first began collecting this data in 2017.
“It’s been a tough few years,” said Charles Lindsey, associate professor of marketing at the university’s Buffalo School of Management. “People really want to party this year, they want to indulge a little bit, and there’s a lot of what economists call pent-up demand and that’s really reflected.”
He attributes the rise to several factors – fears that inflation will push prices further down the road, as well as a longer holiday shopping season when retailers are offering deep discounts, have meant more people have stocked up.
About 10 years ago, 10% of people said they had completed their Christmas shopping by early November, now it’s about double that, almost 20%, one in five,” Lindsey said.
Retailers carry out many discounts compared to last year and last year. Several major retailers including Amazon, Walmart and Target offered early deals starting in October.
Even though household budgets have been hit by high inflation and the weak economy, many are unstoppable.
“We see a lot of debt dependency on credit card debt. We’re also seeing a large reliance on buy-now, pay-later programs this year compared to last year,” Lindsey said.
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