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Economy’s recovery slows holiday shopping momentum


Nov 21, 2023

Shoppers walk around City Creek Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 17, 2022. Holiday shopping isn’t taking off as early as it has in the past few years. However, an economist says it’s the economy returning to normal. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News) Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

Holiday shopping isn’t taking off as early as it did in the pandemic. U.S. retail sales fell in October for the first time since March. This is a big difference from the last couple of years when holiday shopping began as early as September. Zions Bank Senior Economist Robert Spendlove said the economy is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. “If you think about the pandemic kind of like throwing a rock into a lake, there are those … impacts, those ripple effects,” he said. “We’re past the big shock, but now we continue to see some of those ripple effects.” But, the economy is returning to normal, according to Spendlove. “We’re seeing that in employment, we’re seeing it in inflation (and) we’re seeing it in retail spending,” Spendlove said. “Now what we’re hoping for is that elusive soft landing where we the economy slowing but not going into a downturn.”

He said months-early holiday shopping was more of a pandemic thing when last-minute shopping and picking up gifts wasn’t an option. “If you look at the economy during the pandemic, we saw initially the economy was cratering,” Stewart said. “We saw (a) dramatic reduction in the economy … (and) a big increase in unemployment. So, the federal government stepped in and they supported the economy. But, they also caused it to overheat.” However, according to Spendlove, the economy is cooling down and returning to normal. He predicts shopping will pick back up after Thanksgiving.

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