Big bargains will dominate the holiday season, but shoppers may not be sold

by | Oct 20, 2022 | Business

People walk stores offering sales at a shopping mall in Santa Anita, California on December 20, 2021.Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty ImagesGrocery and energy prices have spiked, and credit card interest rates are climbing, but shoppers can expect some relief as they start holiday shopping.Retailers, desperate to coax inflation-fatigued consumers to spend, are expected to beef up promotions as they struggle to get rid of already-marked-down excess inventory.”This will be the year of the perpetual deal for Christmas,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor for the NPD Group, a market research firm.In some gift categories, merchandise could be marked down by more than 20% on retailers’ websites, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales. Computers, electronics and toys are all expected to hit the deepest discounting levels since Adobe started tracking figures in 2017.The abundance of deals is a sharp departure from a year ago. Last holiday season, shoppers started buying gifts early to avoid out-of-stocks and shipping delays. Concerns about not getting hot items meant consumers were willing to pay up.This year, though, retailers have an abundance of merchandise. Shoppers are more reluctant to spend as they pay more for food, housing, health care and more as inflation hovers around a four-decade high. People are also spending more on travel and experiences after two-plus years of Covid restrictions.Even with the bigger discounts, industry-watchers expect a muted holiday season because of households’ stretched budgets. Consulting firm Bain & Co. forecasts growth of as much as 7.5% from last holiday season, but when adjusted for inflatio …

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