Audio Posts

Which holiday gifts, foods resisted inflation?

(NewsNation) — Supply chain issues made hot ticket items hard to come by last year, but in 2022, holiday shoppers are facing a different problem — inflation.

Consumer prices are up 7.1% in November from a year ago, the government reported last week. That’s down from the 9.1% peak in June but still well above the 2% target.

“I’m not doing as many gifts this year,” said Dawn Munoz, a holiday shopper in Southern California. “We need to use that money for other things.”

Despite the economic headwinds, consumer spending is expected to remain healthy this holiday season, but will likely slow from last year.

With inflation, retail sales could still hit record highs, increasing 6 to 8% from last year, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation. That’s in line with the rise in prices but significantly down from the blistering 13.5% sales growth last year.

But that doesn’t mean everything is more expensive. Some categories have actually seen prices fall over the past year, while others saw increases that trailed overall inflation.

Here are the holiday prices to consider from the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Holiday Gifts

Certain items on holiday wishlists have been hit harder by inflation than others. According to last week’s report, it’s a good year to buy electronics.

Televisions — which have become significantly more affordable over the past two decades — saw prices plunge 17% compared to last year. Smartphones have also fallen in the CPI and are down 23.4% from November 2021.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean sticker prices are lower.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics makes quality adjustments to account for changing technology. If features are added but the price remains the same, then consumers are essentially getting more value for their money, which the bureau factors into its calculation.

In other categories, such as toys (up 0.6% from last year), prices have increased but not nearly as much as overall inflation.

If you’re thinking about buying a ticket to an event you’re better off going to a sports game — where admission prices are down 7.2% from last year — than a concert, where prices are up 7.4%.

Holiday Food

Grocery prices across the board are up 12% from last year, but holiday baking ingredients are even more expensive. Eggs are up 49% and butter and margarine prices are 34% higher than they were in November 2021.

For those who decide to forego baking at home, prices for sweets at the store have also risen. Cakes, cupcakes and cookies are up almost 18% and candy is nearly 13% more expensive.

According to Datasembly, a data analytics firm, the average cost of your typical holiday dinner is up more than 16% this year.

A few categories continue to trail overall inflation. Alcohol at-home prices are up just 4.5%. Pork prices are up just 1.2% and the CPI for beef and veal has actually fallen 5.2% from last year. By comparison, poultry prices remain elevated, up 13.1% from November 2021.