As the holiday season approaches, it appears that the US 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 to be starting later.
Senior Economist Robert Spendlove believes that this shift in the timing of holiday shopping is reflective of the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the economy. He compares the pandemic to a rock being thrown into a lake, with ripple effects still being felt even after months have passed. While improvements are being observed in employment data, inflation, and retail spending, a true soft landing is yet to be achieved.
Despite months-early holiday shopping becoming more common during the height of the pandemic when last-minute shopping and picking up of gifts were not an option, Spending believes that a return to a more traditional timeline this year is a good sign. With the economy cooling down and hopefully soon returning to normal, it is predicted that shopping will pick back up after Thanksgiving. A return to more normal holiday shopping trends could signal that economic normalcy is finally within reach.