As the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to try and curb red hot inflation, major retailers in the U.S. forecasted a dismal holiday shopping season in 2022, which turned out a little different than expected.
Holiday sales were up by 7.6% this year in the U.S. between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24. Americans appeared unwilling to let up on major discretionary spending this year despite the lack of good deals and the price increases across the board on everything from clothing to restaurants.
Event tickets for concerts and other productions were at historic levels as well.
A ticket to see superstar Bad Bunny would set a millennial back $225 on average. And ticket prices to see Taylor Swift weren't any better. Yet demand was so high that when tickets for her next tour went on sale, purchases crashed the Ticketmaster website, causing a headline-making scandal that saw major U.S. lawmakers get involved.
The average cost for a concert ticket to see major superstars in 1996, like KISS and Garth Brooks, would set a fan back just under $30 on average. Those days seem long gone.
And now even major retailer rewards programs are becoming less of a deal, with the incentives to be involved appearing to slowly diminish.
Coffee giant Starbucks announced it will meet the new year with major changes to its popular rewards program.
The fast food coffee retailer said that starting Feb. 13, members will now need to earn double the points to qualify for some of its most popular rewards items.
Now a member can redeem points for a cup of coffee or tea, along with various baked goods when they have around 50 starts or points in their account.
That will double to 100 stars or points after the February deadline.
Other items will cost 50 points more than before, and for larger menu items member will need to spend 100 points more than normal.
And airline loyalty programs have also changed so much that they have caused members to lessen their involvement with them.
It's another sign that inflation and other factors are causing retailers to put pressure on customers to cover rising costs across the board.