A little consumer confidence mixed in with some fears about availability because of supply chain interruptions sparked a burst of holiday spending that started earlier this month.
A report from RBC Royal Bank, which tracks activity in customer accounts and credit cards to assess spending trends, says November has seen a surge in spending – principally on things we’d likely associate with holiday gift giving – like electronics.
The bank says its customer base is spending at what it calls an ‘elevated level’ compared to the pre-pandemic period – roughly 20% higher than the pre-COVID standard – so confidence levels and pent up demand appear to be high. And its latest tracking shows spending is holding at this elevated level.
This is especially true with on-line activity rising as holiday spending accelerates.
Spending in restaurants is holding steady at levels we saw prior to the pandemic so the shift going on right now is all about goods rather than services. Travel expenditure, for example, is rising but it is still about 25-percent behind the pace evident before COVID.