Amid historic inflation and economic uncertainty, discount retailers provide a welcome reprieve for everyday Americans. While larger retailers face inventory excess and fluctuations in consumer spending, off-price stores have managed to perform well this year and may even defy predictions for a slow holiday shopping season.
Retail is a highly competitive industry, and most consumers will choose to go where they can get the best value for their money. This is even more evident today as Americans navigate prices that have reached a 40-year high.
The retail sector as a whole has been resilient throughout the pandemic, but consumer spending habits are shifting. Retail sales were flat in September, and large retailers have unprecedented volumes of unsold merchandise resulting from supply chain issues, shipping delays and decreases in sales of household items.
Many Americans are tightening their budgets due to anticipated economic instability. This has threatened overall retail profits, holiday sales projections and U.S. economic growth as spending in the sector accounted for nearly 6% of U.S. GDP in the second quarter.
Yet the dynamism of the retail industry shows that as prices rise and budgets tighten, shoppers have options to meet those demands. Chains like Five Below, Dollar Tree, TJX Companies and Ross performed well throughout 2021 and 2022 due to their ability to consistently offer deals.
Santa’s sleigh will also be impacted by these trends. As the price of everything from eggs to Halloween candy climbs, Deloitte estimates retail sales will increase only 4 to 6% this holiday season, compared to a 15.1% increase in 2021. According to a survey by Sensormatic Solutions, nearly 60% of U.S. shoppers say finances will play a role once they begin their holiday shopping — up from 14% last year. Gartner also reports that nearly one-third of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season due to inflation. As such, competitive pricing and bargains will likely be a big factor when consumers choose where to shop.
Discount retailers are already responding to this anticipated shift and are making efforts to attract shoppers ahead of the traditional holiday rush. Kohl’s put together a Lego-themed sales event called “Bricktober,” which includes up to 20% discounts on toy brands throughout October and daily sales on a variety of items. As larger retailers such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy roll out early holiday deals, by consistently offering lower prices, discount retailers can also blunt the impact of inflation on shoppers’ wish lists.
Going into this holiday season with soaring prices won’t be easy for consumers. But discount retailers provide tremendous relief to inflation-weary Americans by continuing to offer them what they desire most: quality goods at affordable prices. By embracing innovative sales methods and leveraging their unique pricing models, discount stores demonstrate that the retail sector is highly competitive and responsive to consumer needs.