Inflation Effect: Pass the Mini-Turkey With Puny Sides

Consumer prices soared 8.2% through September, and that’s reportedly hitting holiday spending.

If this report is correct, some of you will be giving thanks for smaller portions of food this Thanksgiving.

A total of 38% of shoppers plan to trim their spending for Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to inflation, according to a survey by 84.51°, a Cincinnati-based retail data company. Consumer prices soared 8.2% in the 12 months through September.

Do keep in mind that surveys of holiday spending frequently point to consumers shelling out less than they actually do.

In any case, among those who plan to cut Thanksgiving food spending, 45% plan to pare outlays on turkey or pumpkin pie, 37% on corn bread, and 32% on cranberry sauce, stuffing or macaroni and cheese.

Separately, a SurveyMonkey poll of more than 1,500 U.S. residents, shows that 82.5% of respondents plan to reduce their holiday spending this year.

A total of 87% of those earning less than $50,000 a year said they would reduce spending. For all other income groups – including people earning over $150,000 a year – the figure was close to 80%.

Whither the Wealthy

One might wonder why the wealthy would bother cutting spending. It could be that inflation makes them more reluctant to spend on high-end goods and services, just as inflation lowers non-wealthy people’s spending on low-end products.

Also, it could be that the wealthy feel they should slice spending to be in sync with the rest of society.

As for the targets of spending decreases for people of all income brackets:

· 49% of respondents said gifts for family members,

· 44% said gifts for friends,

· 41% said holiday decorations,

· 38% said holiday travel,

· 30% said food,

· 30% also said alcohol (perhaps this means less drunken bacchanalia this year), and

· 26% said gifts for children.

Further, 79% of respondents said they will lower spending on gifts. Looking at the types of gifts that will likely be skipped:

· 43% of respondents said electronics,

· 41% said jewelry and watches,

· 30% said cosmetics and perfume,

· 28% said memberships,

· 28% also said sports equipment,

· 26% said toys, and

· 24% said gift cards.

Travel Plans

Meanwhile, a recent Bankrate survey found that almost 80% of American adults who plan to travel this holiday season are altering their plans due to inflation.

A total of 26% of those adjusting their plans will cut the days they spend away, while 25% will opt for less expensive destinations and accommodations.

Another 25% will go for less expensive activities. Think enjoying one’s company around the fireplace rather than paying for ski lift passes or relaxing in hot springs surrounded by the snow-capped mountains.

Also, 23% will drive rather than fly to their destinations, while 24% may put off a planned trip altogether. “Escalating airfare and gas prices are a factor in many of those decisions,” the report said.

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