Xinhua News Agency reporter Deng Xianlai Xu Yuan
“The challenge of shopping for holiday gifts is getting bigger and bigger, because the prices of all commodities have increased!” The emotion of Mary Leffler, a resident of North Carolina, USA, represents the aspirations of many working-class people. High inflation and soaring interest rates have cast a shadow over this year’s “Black Friday” shopping day in the United States.
“Black Friday” marks the start of the month-long holiday shopping season in the United States. On this day, major merchants in the United States concentrated on discounts and promotions to attract consumers to buy cheap and favorite products. November 25th is “Black Friday” this year. The reporter found that in an outlet mall in Virginia that day, unlike the previous scenes where Americans would “buy, buy, buy” willfully, there are not many stores with slightly lower discounts.
Hernandez, a 25-year-old Hispanic boy, told reporters that most of his income this year is spent on food and gasoline. “If it weren’t for the discounts of these stores that are more than 50%, I would really be reluctant to buy them.”
U.S. consumers are increasingly budget-conscious, partly because of shrinking wages, rising debt, and partly because of price pressures from high inflation.
According to data released by Moody’s Analytics, American households spent $433 more on the same goods and services in October compared with the same period last year, but in the first 10 months of this year, average hourly wages shrunk by 2.8% after adjusting for inflation. Data released by the US Department of Labor earlier in November showed that the US consumer price index (CPI) in October increased by 0.4% month-on-month and 7.7% year-on-year.
Increased expenditures and reduced incomes have significantly reduced the purchasing power of American consumers. Against this backdrop, total U.S. household debt surged by $351 billion in the third quarter of this year, the largest increase since 2007.
According to the survey data released by the University of Michigan a few days ago, the US consumer confidence index in November fell by 5.2% month-on-month and 15.7% year-on-year.
According to a recent NBC survey, 67% of respondents said it was difficult to buy what they wanted because of inflation, and 69% worried that the economic recession would limit spending power. The survey also showed that the negative impact of inflation on low-income earners is more significant.
Among U.S. consumers, young people with short working years and low wealth accumulation are particularly hard-pressed. According to the NBC survey, 73 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds worry that inflation will prevent them from buying the things they want. Jay Schottenstein, CEO of American Eagle, a fashion clothing brand mainly for young consumers, also said that inflation has a more significant impact on young people, and the company has to spend more promotional efforts than before. to attract consumers.
Consumers are having a hard time, and businesses are feeling the pressure. Judging from the data, many institutions predict that this year’s holiday shopping season sales will increase slightly year-on-year. But if inflation is taken into account, the actual sales may not be as good as last year’s level.
Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and other retailers have said that rising food and gas prices are “stretching” household budgets, resulting in lower sales of toys, furniture and small appliances. Many retailers lowered their sales forecasts for this year’s holiday shopping season.
Jeff Kinett, CEO of Macy’s, found that since the end of October, customers have generally “only shopped but not bought.” Wal-Mart Chief Financial Officer John Rainey pointed out that due to reduced savings, many low-income Americans can’t even afford the necessities of life, let alone buy non-essential goods.
(Editor in charge: Zhang Xue)