Consumers expected to spend less during the holidays this year
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — People are expected to spend less this holiday season.
Experts predict business will be slightly slower than last year, even though there’s promising news about some prices dropping, including for flights.
University of New Mexico finance professor Reilly White gave insight to KOB 4 Thursday.
“The average American is expected to spend less this holiday season than they did last year, about 2% less in fact,” White said.
That’s according to multiple groups that study the topic, including the Conference Board.
Even still, surveys show people are more likely to buy gift cards and items like toys and games this year.
White said the government restarting student loan payments is set to have an impact.
“If we look at the under 45 (years old) cohort, this group, younger spenders, people with the greatest amount of student loans, are expected to see the most significant declines in holiday spending this year,” White said.
Nearly half of holiday spending is expected to happen online, which continues a trend.
Inflation has been increasing for a while, but it’s starting to calm down. That varies across products. Prices for electronics are stable or going down, but the price of food remains elevated.
Overall, the U.S. is not seeing a resurgence in spending.
“We’ve never recovered pre-pandemic highs in consumer confidence,” White said. “Consumers are cautious this year. They’re expected to continue to be cautious. They’re dealing with two years of inflation, and, even though we’re getting it under control, inflation and elevated prices are a fact of the game going forward.”
The TSA expects an increase in people flying over the Thanksgiving holiday. One group, Airlines for America, predicts nearly 30 million.
Air travel experts say many flight prices have fallen, including for the holidays.
Overall, AAA forecasts 55.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over five days. 49 million will drive.
There’s good news on gas prices. They’re down to below $3.40 nationwide and down 41 cents from a year ago.
New Mexico’s average is down to $3.18, according to AAA, which is 33 cents lower than last year.