Because of absurdly high prices, many Americans may not be able to buy gifts this Christmas season.
In May, US consumer prices hit their highest level in 13 years, jumping 5% from the previous year, as the cost of meat products and baked goods led the surge in food prices, according to the US Department of Labor.
The prices of basic and essential goods are hindering Americans from pursuing other expenses.
According to Deloitte’s 2021 holiday retail survey, the percentage of consumers who don’t plan to shop this holiday season is spiking at the same time that prices continue to rise.
The survey found that 11.5% of consumers don’t plan to spend this year, versus 4.9% in 2020, 2.9% in 2019, and 4.2% in 2018. The majority of the shoppers who say they won’t buy holiday gifts — 65% — make $50,000 or less per year.
Deloitte estimates that Americans will spend $1,463 on average this holiday season, up 5% from last year, with higher earners driving the majority of that spending. Regardless of income, consumers are bracing for an expensive shopping season.
Nearly 70% of shoppers are anticipating higher prices throughout the holidays.
New and used cars are significantly more expensive this year due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage; electronics like game consoles and TVs are suffering a similar fate; and toy companies are warning that shelves could be more bare than usual.
If toy-makers are able to get their products shipped, they’re paying premiums that may lead to higher prices for shoppers.
Rising food costs means higher prices for popular holidays meals. Meat suppliers are warning small turkeys will be in short supply because the pandemic made smaller gatherings the norm.
Even decor isn’t safe. Live Christmas trees could be pricier and harder to find due to a combination of climate change, soaring demand during the pandemic, and the late-stage impacts of the 2008 Recession that led to a tighter supply of trees.
Growers have reported having to raise their prices as a result — in fact, the average price of a tree more than doubled since 2008, according to data from the National Christmas Tree Association.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned last month that prices will stay high until halfway through 2022.
For more updates, read more from us here at the East County Gazette.