There are only 12 days until Christmas, which means there isn’t much time left to get your holiday shopping done. With the holidays fast approaching, WMFE’s Talia Blake spoke with Sean Snaith, Director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida about how the state of the economy is affecting people as they shop.
Economic Impact on Purchasing
It’s no secret that living in Central Florida is expensive. Although salaries have increased over the past year, Snaith said the cost of living has not kept up.
“It’s more dollars in the pocket, but those dollars don’t go far,” he said. “And so I think when it comes to holiday spending, we can expect that to have an impact.”
Snaith predicts cost growth will be higher this year compared to last due to the cost of organics.
Where to Shop
A recent study by the National Retail Federation reported that people started their holiday shopping in early November.
Snaith points out that in a cost-conscious mindset many people give the rate of inflation.
“So if you see something, it’s a good thing and, you know, it’s what your grandmother wanted, and it’s for sale, I’ll use that,” he said. “At the same time, some people will hold back and see what the seller is going to do.”
Those price-aware purchases can also be reflected in the seller’s reports. Snaith said Target isn’t getting ahead of itself with Walmart because of consumer behavior.
Consumers are also still spending their money on things beyond gifts, according to Snaith.
Holiday Shopping Tips
Compare, compare, compare!
Consumer access to information now compared to 20 or 30 years ago is staggering, according to Snaith.
He said the ability to comparison shop is a powerful tool.
“Having that information at your fingertips will allow you to be more strategic,” Snaith said. “And some of these places you can track the price of things you might want to buy to see ‘oh, it’s down 20% and now is a good time to buy.’
Getting the best bang for your buck by comparison shopping is one way shoppers can stretch their budget, says Snaith, whether that’s buying gifts or our monthly expenses.