According to one festive and fun annual economic indicator, the cost of this holiday season for shoppers is not expected to rise a significant amount over last year.
For more than 30 years, PNC has calculated the combined estimated price of the gifts from the classic carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Known as the PNC Christmas Price Index, the results can indicate what holiday shoppers might expect at the register. This year, the index calculated the total price of all 12 gifts to be $34,558.65, a modest 0.6 percent increase over last year.
While the average consumer is unlikely to shop online or at the mall in search of geese-a-laying or a partridge in a pear tree, the Christmas Price Index can be informative for those planning their holiday shopping, as the cost for these gifts often increase or decrease at a rate consistent with the U.S. Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation produced by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“The U.S. economy is growing at a sustainable pace, fueled by higher consumer confidence, low unemployment, modest wage gains and low interest rates,” says Thomas P. Melcher, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group. “However, The PNC Christmas Price Index rose at slow steady pace of 0.6 percent in 2017, as companies appear hesitant to pass through price increases to the consumer.”
A few factors largely have driven changes in the index over the years. The Internet makes it easier to find the gifts from the song online, but these goods and services tend to be expensive, mainly due to added shipping and handling costs. The price of services overall has increased, while the price of goods has slowed. Fuel costs, which have been especially volatile over the last few years, have a major effect on the cost of shipping.
So, while you may have no need to buy anyone on your list any maids-a-milking, it is good for jewelry lovers to know that the price of golden rings jumped more than any other gift that may be on their true love’s wishlist this year!