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How will inflation impact holiday shopping this year?

This holiday season, inflation is likely to impact consumers as they purchase food and gifts and make travel arrangements. We took a look.

This holiday season, inflation is likely to impact consumers as they purchase food and gifts and make travel arrangements. We took a look.
Hollie AdamsGetty

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, many shoppers are still looking for the best deals to complete their gift list this year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that prices are up on average 7.7 percent compared to last year, meaning consumers are likely to spend more but buy fewer gifts this holiday season.

Back in September, the financial news site, Bankrate, reported that two in five consumers they surveyed said that inflation would change their holiday shopping decisions.

Many consumers started their gift buying earlier this year, with Amazon encouraging the extension of the holiday shopping timeline by offering a Prime Day in October. Still, the majority of shoppers said that they would begin their shopping in November (28 percent), compared to 18 percent saying they expected to begin a month earlier.

Which goods will be more expensive this holiday season?

In early December, more price data will be released, providing greater insights into inflationary trends for many of the most common goods gifted each year.

How has inflation impacted common goods gifted during the holidays?

Good Oct 2021 - October 2022 
Apperal  4.1 percent 
Men's and boys' apparel 2.7 percent 
Women's and girls' apparel 6.3 percent 
Jewelry and watches 2.5 percent 
Sporting goods 3 percent 
Bicycles  1.2 percnet 
Sports equipment  5.7 percent 
Toys, games, hobbies and playground equipment 6.7 percent 
Books 0 percnet 
Smartphones -22.9 percent 

Books may be a good bet

Prices for appeal, toys, watches, and jewelry are up compared to last year. However, prices for books have remained even, and those for smartphones have dropped by over twenty-two percent since October 2021.

Many book retailers offer great sales to entice readers, particularly independent online book retailers.

Powell’s, located in Portland, Oregon, has an online store offering twenty percent off site-wide when shoppers use the code “HOLIDAYHAUL.” Haymarket Books, local to Chicago, is offering forty percent off their entire site through 2 January as well.

For towns and cities still home to a local book stores, buying from them may be a great way to save and support small businesses simultaneously.

Holiday Travel: How will inflation impact flights and gas prices?

Gas prices have continued to fall in most places across the country, which should provide some relief for families who plan to hit the road to visit friends and family later next month.

With OPEC announcing plans to decrease production, the United States has been forced to continue drawing upon its reserves and look to other markets. The White House has announced that if US oil and gas companies increase production to bring prices down to around $70 a barrel, the government will purchase their oil to replenish the national strategic supply. When the White House made the offer in late October, the price of the barrel was around $85 and has since come down to $78 --above the lower limit set by the Biden administration.

Looking at airfare, the story is a bit different.

In October, Airline tickets clocked in at around 43 percent higher than the price seen a year prior. These prices could come down, but with many needing to purchase tickets in the coming days or weeks, many consumers may not benefit. Adding pressure to airfare prices is the traditional move by airlines to push up prices during the holidays to cash in on the increased travel.