ST. LOUIS — 5 On Your Side is looking into how inflation will impact your holiday season and you may see higher costs on the price tag this year.
Our team spoke with David Overfelt, president of the Missouri Retailers Association.
“Inflation is biting into everybody's wallet,” he said.
The holiday season is big for shoppers, and equally as big for retailers.
“I mean, for some retailers, they don't go into the black until the holidays. But for other retailers, it just makes up a good deal of the season,” Overfelt told 5 On Your Side.
How will retailers fare on a national level this year compared to last?
“We're going to not see the growth that we saw last year,” he said.
The National Retail Federation reported households making less than $75,000 a year plan to spend about $606 shopping this year. The holiday budgets shrank from last year’s report of $655 allocated for gifts in 2021.
Households making more than $150,000 plan to spend 21% more this year. Families are setting aside an average of $1,304 for holiday gifts, the report stated.
Most people are still going gift shopping, they're just trying not to break the bank.
According to the National Retail Federation, gift cards are topping the list for most popular gift in 2022.
If you get one, use it! CreditCard.com reports, there are $21 billion in unused gift cards sitting in wallets nationwide.
Next most popular 2022 gifts are clothing, books and other media and electronics. Home decor, jewelry and home improvement gifts are next in the hierarchy of popular gifts this year.
With food costs spiking 11.2% from September 2021 to September 2022, more people are giving gifts you can eat this year.
“The food gifting is going to go up, and there's a lot of gifting of food and food type products,” Overfelt said.
Despite the issues inflation is bringing around the country, the Show Me state is predicting a strong holiday season for sales.
“We're going to have a 6-8% increase over last year,” Overfelt said. “Now, last year was huge because of the increase because of COVID and that was a 13.5% increase. We're talking about a dollar amount of close to $18 billion increase over last year.”
You may see deals earlier than usual as, “a lot of companies are doing their black Friday promotions starting now,” Overfelt said.
We asked if the discounts will be significant, or lower than years past as stores try to break even.
“I think that with clothing, jewelry and more adult type gifts, you might not see as many huge discounts,” Overfelt said. “I've noticed this past year that sales – the percentages have not been as large as the past. I would put that more on inventory issues, the shipping problems, the rail problems. So, we've been dealing with that for more than a year now.”
Another change? There may be fewer helping hands on the store floor.
“I mean, our [Missouri] main problem is staffing. Last year we hired almost 700,000 people for the seasonal staff. This year, it could be as low as 450,000.”
What about small businesses?
“They're struggling on keeping prices down because their suppliers have gone up. The shipping issues are still out there and are problematic,” he said.
Many customers are feeling powerless as costs continue to climb.
5 On Your Side met with professor and economist, Dr. Mitch Ellison, at Webster University for some advice.
“They have to kind of cool off the demand side to basically bring the prices down,” Dr. Ellison said.
He said consumers can sway retailers and suppliers with their buying behaviors.
“You can send signals back related to price… Anywhere you have a choice, make a choice for the lower price and eventually the signal will get out there,” he said. “You’re going to have to spend the money that you have to spend. I would also warn people that you don’t want to spend money that you don’t have.”