At this time last year, many people were wishfully hoping that the world would be back to normal by the 2021 holiday season. Nearly 20 months into the pandemic, consumers and the U.S. economy are still feeling the impact of COVID-19. Consumer spending trends that were born out of necessity in 2020, such as the sudden shift to e-commerce to avoid contact and remain socially distanced, have remained despite a cautious return to pre-pandemic activities. Supply chain issues and the accompanying global trade slowdown further add to another unpredictable holiday shopping season.
What to Expect This Holiday Shopping Season
Due to these supply chain issues, merchants have been encouraging consumers to start their holiday shopping earlier than ever. Many are rolling out “Black Friday-worthy deals” now – before Halloween. These sales are designed to persuade consumers to purchase their holiday gifts as soon as possible in the hopes that their gift will still be able to be delivered on time. Last holiday season, we did see the emergence of early and long windows for deals, which were designed to test consumer demand and discourage physical gatherings in stores. Despite the supply chain slowdown, Mastercard anticipates 2021 to be the strongest holiday retail season on record.
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