How to Navigate Inflation This Holiday Season

By Hector Pantazopoulos

The holidays are on the horizon, but so too is the growing impact of the worst inflation in 40 years. With financial concerns putting a strain on the festivities, many may be wondering how to afford the usual holiday expenditures — presents, travel and produce, to name a few. Fortunately, necessity sparks innovation, and there are several ways for consumers to save money, while finding gifts for everyone on their list.

Making a List (of Payment Options)

One option that many major retailers are embracing are buy-now-pay-later services (BNPLs), as a payment option. These popular solutions allow for consumers to spread full payments across a few months, which can effectively mitigate the initial drain of holiday shopping.

Some of the most popular BNPL options available include Afterpay and Klarna. These solutions offer short-term, interest-free payments on larger purchases. These options are accepted at a rapidly growing variety of major retailers, making it increasingly likely that many of today's stores will offer this functionality.

While these incremental payments may appear to be like a credit card, they are often offered interest-free. Additionally, they are easier to apply for, and have a higher acceptance rate than the more traditional credit cards. This can make it easier for purchasing in a pinch — such as during the fast-approaching Black Friday weekend or throughout the end of the holiday season. This also assists those who may have a low credit score, or those otherwise unable to apply for a credit card.

By far the most important benefit of BNPLs is that they can help shoppers purchase high-ticket items that may not be within their current budgets. For major gift ideas, such as jewelry, the latest tech, or even airline tickets, a BNPL solution can allow consumers to have their gift ready for the big day, without breaking the bank in the process.

Some major retailers are even developing and offering their own BNPL software. Earlier this year, Apple began publicizing Apple Pay Later, its personal BNPL service, which will be formally introduced across its devices in spring 2023. Bed Bath and Beyond also introduced Welcome Pay, its personal BNPL service that can be utilized across their website and in-store options.

Checking It Twice (for Deals)

Another way that consumers can prepare themselves for the financial turmoil of the holiday season is by proactively searching for the best deals across their list. Naturally, the Black Friday shopping season is optimal for this, but for those still finishing their shopping throughout the course of December, there are other valuable ways to find these deals.

Influencers are a large component of today's media mix and given the sway that they have been shown to hold over purchasing behavior, it isn't difficult to see why. Along with the big-name celebrities, such as the Kardashians, promoting products across their social channels, there are several specified types of influencers who can offer access to curated audiences through their own channels. One of these types are deal-centric influencers.

While not as high-profile as some of the influencer elite, deal-centric influencers are able to excellently curate their content to seek out deals from across retail verticals. They can then share these deals with their followers. In a sense, they are the present-day equivalent of the modern couponer, except the deals they promote are on-demand (and don't require a pair of scissors).

Utilizing these channels can be a valuable way for consumers to seek out year-round deals for everything on their list. Additionally, these influencers often build authenticity into their personal brands by having a connection to the verticals they work in — for example, those promoting products for young children may likely be a parent, themselves.

Embracing the Season

The approach of the holiday season amid this ongoing economic downturn has doubtlessly left financial concerns at the top of many consumers' minds. Fortunately, with the resources available today, a bit of advanced planning, and careful consideration can mitigate these holiday concerns. With new technological options for making larger purchases, and deal-centric influencers throughout the retail space offering the best deals available, you should be able to make your holiday season as merry and bright as it has ever been.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Hector Pantazopoulos is the co-founder and CRO of SourceKnowledge.