Holiday inflation worries two-thirds of U.S. shoppers: poll

With Black Friday underway in the United States, a new poll has found inflation to be one of the top concerns for American shoppers this holiday season.

The CNBC/Survey Monkey survey surveyed more than 3,500 adults earlier this month about how they feel as they enter the holiday season this year. In particular, they were asked what concerns they might have about being able to pay for gifts.

Two topics that have dominated economic conversations over the past year, recession and inflation, both ranked high as worrying factors for most respondents. About 69 percent of those surveyed said the possibility of a looming global recession is making them consider buying less this year. Slightly lower, about 67 percent, scored inflation as a concern, saying they feared they wouldn’t be able to afford as much this season.

concerns about inflation during Christmas shopping
Above, holiday shoppers watch the light shows at Hudson Yards in New York City. A recent poll found that inflation and recession are high on the minds of shoppers during the holiday season.
Jeenah Maan/Getty Images

These concerns were more pronounced among lower-income respondents, as well as among younger people, who are more likely to earn less. About 78 percent of people from households earning less than $50,000 cited inflation as a holiday concern, compared with 65 percent and 56 percent for those earning $50,000 to $100,000 and more than $100,000, respectively.

Of respondents ages 18 to 34, 73 percent expressed concern about being able to afford all their stuff this holiday season. This was the highest of any age group, with 69 percent of respondents aged 34-65 and 55 percent of those aged 65 and over expressing similar views.

“Amid record high inflation and recession concerns, some are cutting back,” the report said. “[Thirty-nine percent] say they plan to spend less on holiday gifts this season, just over 36 [percent] last year. Just 14 [percent] say they plan to spend more this season while they are 44 [percent] say they will spend about the same as last year.”

While everyday consumers are still concerned, there has been evidence over the past month that inflation in the US is easing. Sunday has the Financial times reported that the US dollar fell 4 percent in value against several other peer currencies in November as there are signs of inflation easing.

from Baron also reported on several sectors experiencing bullish trends, including a decline in commodity prices and producer costs falling below expectations in October. While not definitive, these hopeful signs have caused the stock market to trend upward over the past two weeks. Analysts and leaders in several countries and regions have also indicated that recessions are unlikely in the foreseeable future.

News week reached out to the White House for comment.

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