Survey: Tariffs loom over consumer holiday spending

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Survey: Tariffs loom over consumer holiday spending

By Dan Berthiaume - 10/07/2019
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The ongoing trade war with China may dampen retailers’ holiday spirits.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers from enterprise retail software provider JDA, about two-thirds (65%) of respondents say uncertainty around tariffs on Chinese imports has had no impact on their spending. Another 29% have spent slightly or significantly less as a result of tariffs, while 6% have spent slightly or significantly more.

However, looking ahead to the 2019 holiday season, close to half of respondents (46%) plan to spend slightly or significantly less this year due to tariffs. The same percentage say tariffs will have no impact, while 8% plan to spend slightly or significantly more for the holidays as a result of tariffs.

Uncertainty about tariffs is also poised to shift the timing of consumers’ holiday purchases. Seventeen percent of respondents plan to do all their holiday shopping earlier to avoid higher prices, while 31% plan to shift some of their holiday shopping earlier. Another 31% say tariffs will not impact the timing of their holiday purchases, while 21% are undecided.

Consumers are worried more about the impact of tariffs on the prices of some holiday items than they are about other seasonal purchases. A leading 51% of respondents are concerned about how tariffs will affect electronics prices, followed by apparel (29%), food/grocery (23%), household items & appliances (22%), footwear (21%), and toys (16%). Nineteen percent of respondents were not worried about price increases (respondents could select up to three items).

Editor’s note: Chain Store Age rounded response percentages to the nearest whole number.

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