The holiday season is here, but it appears that the usual hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is not quite in full swing this year. In fact, U.S. retail sales have fallen for the first time since March, indicating that we may be returning to some semblance of normalcy in the economy. While it’s been common to see months-early holiday shopping during the pandemic, with last-minute deals and gift pickups being a necessity given the circumstances, it seems like we’re moving back towards a more traditional timeline this year.
According to Senior Economist Robert Spendlove, this shift in timing is reflective of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our economy. He compares it to a rock being thrown into a lake – even though the water has calmed down, there are still ripples that can be felt for quite some time after the initial impact. While we may no longer be in full lockdown mode, Spendlove believes that we’re not quite out of the woods yet when it comes to economic recovery.
Despite this uncertainty, there are signs that things are improving. Employment data is showing positive trends, inflation rates are stabilizing, and retail spending is picking up slowly but surely. However, as much as everyone hopes for a soft landing – where everything just returns to normal without any further disruptions – it’s still unclear if that will happen anytime soon.
That said, Spendlove believes that getting back to a more traditional holiday shopping schedule is a positive sign for the future of our economy. With less uncertainty around Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping this year compared to previous years during the pandemic, we can hopefully look forward to seeing more people heading out to stores and online platforms to snag their holiday gifts with fewer restrictions than before. And while it might not feel like everything has completely returned to normal just yet, these small steps towards economic stability could pave the way for a brighter future ahead.