The U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest in 50 years, but uncertainty continues to describe consumers’ attitudes toward today’s economic climate. According to a survey by JDA software, only 57 percent claim to have a general understanding of the trade war with China.
That’s not to say trade wars and tariffs have gone unnoticed by the ever-skeptical consumer. Conflicting reports have fueled ambiguity to many U.S. consumers who worry about how the tariff war will create a direct impact.
Following a question asking respondents how the “uncertainty around the U.S. trade war with China” has impacted recent spending, 65 percent of consumers said it had not. However, when JDA shared an informational blurb explaining how Chinese tariffs have the reach to impact consumers personally, 46 percent of respondents replied they plan to spend “significantly to slightly less” on holiday shopping this year.
Further, tariffs are expected to impact exactly when consumers will shop for the holidays. Half of the respondents replied they plan to do at least some holiday shopping early to avoid cost increases that will be associated with Chinese tariffs. Additionally, 34 percent of respondents will plan to follow the U.S. trade war news as the holiday season progresses (this was up from an original 28 percent at the beginning of the survey).
Fifty-one percent of consumers replied being most worried about the price increase on electronics for this holiday, followed by apparel at 29 percent and footwear at 20 percent. Jewelry and sporting/outdoor gear showed significantly less worry about price increases at only 4 to 5 percent of respondents reporting a concern.
Similar findings by First Insight Inc., on consumers’ price sensitivity as it pertains to trade wars and tariffs, were reported by WWD last week. Additionally, in reports earlier this week, WWD found apparel and accessories prices will be raised by 5 to 10 percent due to the U.S.-China trade war with retailers taking a hit to profits.
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