Omicron concerns could divert spending from experiments, retail group says


As Americans shopped for gifts during the peak Thanksgiving shopping weekend, the discovery of the omicron variant grabbed the headlines and urged public health officials to act.

National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said on Tuesday that the coronavirus The tension could disrupt spending habits this holiday season and spend more money on electronics, toys, clothing and other items instead of vacations and movie tickets.

“We know, unfortunately, that when the variants had a real impact on the economy, the goods side of the economy actually benefited as people change their behavior away from the experience side of the economy and spend more money. time and more money involved. on the goods side of the economy, ”he said on a call with journalists.

Holiday sales are expected reach a record level between $ 843.4 billion and $ 859 billion in sales in November and December, representing growth of 8.5% to 10.5% this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group reiterated its optimistic forecast for the holiday season on Tuesday.

Experience-based gifts – such as travel vouchers, restaurant gift cards, and spa days – should make a comeback this year because more and more Americans feel comfortable going out again.

About 43% of consumers said they plan to splurge on service experiences and giveaways this holiday season, according to a survey of around 1,500 U.S. consumers in August by consulting firm Accenture. The trend was more pronounced among the younger generations, with 53% of Millennials and 50% of Gen Z saying they plan to spend on experiences, according to the survey.

Shay said the trade group is confident about consumers’ appetite to spend, despite the new variant. He said the backdrop for the pandemic was very different this holiday season as more Americans are fully vaccinated.

“We think there is a reason to be aware, a reason to follow the types of protocols that we have followed from the beginning on safe practices and vaccination, but there is no reason to panic.” , did he declare.


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