Over 160 million shoppers expected this week nationwide, despite widespread inflation

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Economic experts do not anticipate that record inflation will impact holiday shopping — with projections of over 160 million people across the nation planning to shop from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

Victor Matheson, professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross, said inflation is now combated by low unemployment rates.

“Inflation is so high not because the economy is bad, but because the economy is too good,” said Matheson. “We’re at record low unemployment rates, which means lots of consumers out there are coming home with full paychecks. Food on average is up more than 10-13% percent, while turkey is up 18% or 20%. On the other hand, things like toys and electronics are cheaper than when the pandemic began.”

Matheson believes the consumer turnout for this holiday season will foreshadow the national economy of 2023.

He explained, “Inflation is still way too uncomfortably high both for the regular consumer and the policy makers in Washington, D.C. But it at least shows it has stopped going up. People are willing to open up their wallets if they figure the next six months will be good ones. You can always pay back your bills that you rack up at Christmas, as long as you expect a good first half of the year.”

Domenic Schiavone, general manager of the Warwick Mall, is expecting up to a double-digit percent increase in revenue this year compared to 2021. He believes post-pandemic shopping will drive customers to shops and stores.

“To touch and feel — it’s impulse,” said Schiavone. “You see something you like and when it’s right in front of you, it’s a lot easier. It’s more of an emotional spend.”

He continued, “People were worried that brick and mortar wasn’t going to survive, but it’s actually coming back and coming back stronger.”

Both Schiavone and Matheson say you can find great deals in technology this time of year.

They also urge consumers to hit the stores as soon as they can — as the best prices are often further from the holidays.

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