It seems everywhere we turn right now, experts are telling us to start our holiday shopping early, as supply chain challenges are expected to impact inventories for a large variety of products through the end of the year and possibly beyond.
Coupled with rising inflation, this year’s holiday shopping budgets may feel particularly crunched, and residents throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region are taking notice.
A recent WSFS Bank Money Trends survey found that rising prices and economic concerns have about one-third (34 percent) of respondents expecting to spend less money on gifts this holiday season, and 40 percent plan to travel less this year than they did during the 2020 holiday season, despite eased restrictions now in place.
Rising gas prices aren’t helping consumers’ outlook either.
Now for the good news!
Despite some overall pulling back on spending, a generation of emerging consumers are preparing to spend more on holiday-related expenses.
Generation Z (18- to 24-year-olds) appears poised to spread the holiday joy this year, as 38 percent of these younger respondents plan to increase their spending on gifts, celebrate more at local restaurants and bars (41 percent compared to 27 percent overall), or host and attend at-home gatherings (41 percent vs. 30 percent).
They are staying local and ready to spend, which is great news for Main Street businesses throughout the region.
Even more promising? More than one-quarter (28 percent) of all regional respondents still plan to spend their holiday budgets on local shopping this year, with 61 percent of those planning to shop local citing they want to support local businesses and nearly half (49 percent) preferring the personal touch of buying gifts from small businesses. Forty-one percent also prefer the small business shopping experience over large chains and shopping malls.
This presents a wonderful opportunity for local small businesses in our communities to bounce back in a big way this holiday season. Many small businesses in the region have adapted to changing consumer preferences, expanding e-commerce, and adding services like door-to-door delivery to compete with online shopping.
Many of them also have unique offerings that won’t break your budget and can’t be found online or at big box retailers, helping you avoid inflated prices on mainstream items. And with some popular items being tough to find because of a squeezed supply chain, this year could be a good one to purchase local experiences or tickets to events that can be used throughout the year.
As you navigate the holidays this year, look for alternatives for hard-to-find gifts that may save you money so when you do need to splurge, it won’t break your overall budget.
Shari Kruzinski is Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at WSFS Bank. Her career spans more than 30 years in the banking industry, including 31 years with WSFS. In her current position, Kruzinski leads the bank’s Customer division, including Customer Experience and enterprise-wide Customer Initiatives. She also oversees the bank’s retail offices, contact center, and retail operations.