Much of the country was back at work Monday after the long holiday weekend. But along with whatever else they were doing at their job, there’s a good chance they were doing something else ... shopping.
American shoppers are expected to spend close to $12.4 billion online today during what’s known as Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. Black Friday spending was also stronger than expected, up 7.5% from last year.
These spending numbers are a relief for retailers, who feared inflation might put a damper on holiday spending.
“If you’ve been following the various predictions for the holiday shopping season, you’ve seen that retailers have been worried about inflation and the rising cost of labor,” says Amanda Lai, retail strategy consultant for McMillan Doolittle. “But it appears that consumers are still excited about shopping and having a nice holiday.”
Edward Stuart, professor emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University is also feeling optimistic about the economic forecast.
“I think we are heading for a good season and year ahead,” Stuart said. “Inflation pressures are moderating due to supply chain problems disappearing. Hopefully, the Federal Reserve will begin lowering interest rates. That should give consumers and households greater ability to afford big ticket purchases.”
Though the holiday shopping tradition continues, Lai believes the big sale day events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be outdated, as shoppers begin spending and searching for deals earlier and at their own convenience.
Just what are some of the hot items this holiday season?
“For children it’s Legos, followed by a distant second Hot Wheels and Barbies,” says Martin Block, professor emeritus of marketing at Northwestern University and former executive director of the Retail Analytics Council. “Clothing is the most popular gift overall, followed by gift cards and toys. Also notable this year, consumers are reporting they are focusing more on what they need rather than what they want.”