The holiday shopping season is off to a slower start this year, indicating that the economy is slowly returning to normalcy. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the timing of holiday shopping, with U.S. retail sales falling for the first time since March. In recent years, holiday shopping would have started as early as September, but this year it seems that consumers are delaying their purchases until later in the season.
Senior Economist Robert Spendlove believes that this shift in the timing of holiday shopping is reflective of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the economy. He compares the pandemic to a rock being thrown into a lake, with the ripple effects still being felt even after months have passed. While the pandemic may be over, we are still dealing with its aftermath.
Overall, improvements are being observed in employment data, inflation, and retail spending, but a true sense of economic normalcy seems to be elusive just yet. Despite months-early holiday shopping being more common during the height of the pandemic, Spendlove believes that a return to a more traditional timeline this year is a good sign. With less last-minute shopping and picking up of gifts not being an option due to social distancing measures, consumers seem to be taking their time making their purchases. With a return to more normal holiday shopping trends, it appears that economic normalcy may finally be on the horizon.
In conclusion, while holiday shopping has been slow to get off its feet this year due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and its economic impact, there are signs that things are improving. With more people getting vaccinated and restrictions easing up around the country, consumers may feel more comfortable making larger purchases in person or online for their loved ones this holiday season. As we move forward into 2022 and beyond, we can hope for continued progress towards an economic recovery and perhaps even some much-needed relief from inflationary pressures as well.
In summary, while there are still challenges ahead for our economy amidst ongoing concerns about COVID-19 variants and other uncertainties surrounding public health policies and regulations across different regions globally; experts like Spendlove remain optimistic about what lies ahead for both business owners and consumers alike moving forward into 2022 and beyond.