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Christmas May be Cancelled by Inflation

You'll have to be extra specially good to stay on the 'nice' list this year.
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Raging inflation already appears to have put a dent into consumer spending, with personal consumption expenditures rising only 0.1% in July.

And things aren’t looking so hot for the holiday shopping season. A total of 55% of consumers said inflation will affect their holiday spending this year, according to a survey of 1,025 people from Jungle Scout, a platform for merchants to sell on Amazon.

Among those whose spending will be affected,

· 54% anticipate spending less on gifts per person,

· 47% foresee buying discounted products,

· 38% expect to reduce the number of people to whom they’re giving gifts,

· 36% anticipate spending less on holiday decorating,

· 34% foresee reducing holiday activities/travel,

· 25% expect to buy used/thrift store gifts, and

· 21% anticipate re-gifting/recycling gifts.

Who’s Getting Skunked?

Among consumers planning on eliminating recipients from their gift list, the most likely to get the axe are:

1. Self

2. Friends

3. Extended family

4. Co-workers

5. Neighbors.

Those least likely to get cut are:

1. Children

2. Grandchildren

3. Partner/spouse

4. Grandparents

5. Pets.

In terms of the shopping timeline, 19% of respondents said they already had begun their holiday shopping when the survey was conducted in August. And 70% expect to start before Thanksgiving, up from 55% who had that plan a year ago.

There's a Broader Picture

Looking beyond just holiday spending, 84% of consumers said inflation has affected their spending, up from 77% in the second quarter. And 76% said they’re making fewer fun/impulse purchases, up from 72% in the second quarter.

A total of 37% of consumers said their spending has decreased this quarter, 36% said it has stayed the same and 37% said it has increased.

The top categories in which consumers said they’re cutting back spending are:

1. Dining out at restaurants/bars

2. Leisure travel

3. In-person entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.)

4. Streaming entertainment subscriptions (Netflix, iTunes, Audible, etc.)

5. Subscription services (meal kits, food delivery, etc.)

6. Personal care services (hair/nail salons, spas, etc.)

7. Clothing/accessories

8. Groceries

9. Home improvement/decorating.

In other surveys, Americans lost a record $6.9 billion to online scams in 2021, up from $3.5 billion in 2019, according to a study from Social Catfish, an online dating investigation service.

The amount lost has nearly doubled since the global pandemic began in 2020, “as people were forced to work, shop and date online.… Scammers have grown increasingly sophisticated to capitalize” the report said.

“This alarming trend is showing no signs of slowing down, as an unprecedented number of victims are losing their life savings, with many tragically taking their own lives. Moreover, the vast majority of victims are too humiliated to come forward.”

The number of people victimized by online scams more than doubled to 847,376 last year from 467,361 in 2019.