‘Tis the Season of Inflation


Noelle Wu

Inflation has taken course as rising prices are affecting holiday shopping.

Noelle Wu, Photojournalist

As frost invades the air and various radio stations start broadcasting holiday music, the barrage of winter gift-giving advertisements and targeted messages begins. In a season characterized by price comparisons and apportioning spending on loved ones, many consumers are concerned about what shopping this holiday season entails as inflation increases prices. Consumers have been battling rising prices for months, specifically at grocery stores and the gas pump. This has influenced consumer buying behavior as holiday shopping commences. 

According to an ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) Christmas study issued last month, over 90% of respondents said inflation will have an impact on their holiday spending. It appears that the essence of this year’s Christmas economic season is discounts and promotions. According to the ICSC, while consumers are expected to spend 6.7% more during the holidays this year than in 2021, 43% are seeking offers and promotions. According to the poll, 65% of respondents want to spend more time hunting for bargains. In an interview with Retail Dive, Jorge Barraza, a professor of consumer psychology at the University of Southern California, states that “there’s this urge to limit the pains” when faced with monetary hindrance.

Shoppers are starting to adapt to rising costs and other economic instability. Reduced pricing for the products they will purchase become more appealing due to the adoption of “coping strategies,” as described by Barraza. Retailers have responded to this request by holding Black Friday-style sales in the initial weeks of the holiday season and making bargains last longer. Amazon conducted its second Prime member sales event of 2022 in October. Walmart and Target each began their own discount days around the same time. In addition, Walmart announced late October that its three-week “Black Friday Deals for Days” campaign will return, with discounts that run from Nov. 7 through Nov. 25. However, according to Barraza, retailers must achieve the proper balance. Retailers who oversaturate consumers with offers run the danger of damaging their brand image and reputation. He continues, saying, “If I start discounting and that feels like it’s more of a permanent and prolonged thing, you start shape-shifting the way that consumers are perceiving your brand.”

“Since prices have been so high lately, this year I will definitely be more aware of prices and be on the lookout for sales.””

— Savannah Cheng (9)

All things considered, shoppers and retailers alike are approaching this holiday season in the lens of cost-effectivity and economic appeal. Savannah Cheng (9) confirms, “Since prices have been so high lately, this year I will definitely be more aware of prices and be on the lookout for sales.” Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stress of inflation and rising prices has hit a large portion of the world tremendously. From gasoline, to food, to holiday cheer, prices have been increasing steadily.