We are putting the finishing touches on 2022 and now is a great time to begin looking ahead to 2023. The coming year will be filled with opportunities to improve upon the advancements made in 2022 and fix all the things that didn’t quite go to plan. There is a lot to be optimistic about and even the economy could see an upswing.

One of the most surprising trends of Black Friday was the return to in-person shopping. For the last few years it has been a challenge to get consumers to peruse the isles of retailers and dine-in at restaurants. That has all started to change and we should see this momentum carry into next year along with the improved spending we have seen recently. November was at least on par with last year and in some cases better, which is impressive when we consider the effect inflation has had on the economy. Traditionally we see a dip in December; however, this year we are still seeing strong spending for the month, especially with apparel. Clearly more than just deep Black Friday discounts are driving these sales, consumers are willing to spend, and the new year will only bring more opportunities for them to do so.

It has been difficult this year for companies to strike a balance between drawing in consumers and needing to raise prices that could drive them off. We are seeing things like the average cost to eat out going up, although in some cases the increased food revenue has offset the loss in traffic. 2023 will provide an opportunity to improve that balance and entice return customers. We will see both retailers and restaurants shift their focus to more alternative store types. These new stores carry a smaller physical footprint and allow companies to reach new consumers. The restaurants in this style cater to mobile and take-out ordering while allowing larger locations to appeal to traditional diners. Retail stores are using this new format to reduce overhead and establish themselves beyond the typical shopping mall conventions. Even Best Buy will be using their new showroom style stores to showcase merchandise and then direct customers to purchase digitally. We saw how successful digital and physical integration can be during Black Friday. Foot traffic was higher than the past few years and digital purchases reached new records. This should continue in 2023 and it could lead to more consistent sales beyond the sporadic holiday spikes from this year.

We are experiencing a positive economic outlook from consumers to end the year, and this should bring hope to struggling retailers and restaurants. Consumers have been spending at high clip for the holidays and the economy will reflect that. Businesses have navigated inflation and found ways to cut costs and provide value to their customers, and they should be even better at it next year. Restaurants have positioned themselves as an occasional alternative to grocery shopping and retailers have invested in mobile technology to make themselves more accessible. These advancements will help fight inflation as well, since companies will be able to tailor pricing to individuals instead of broader discounts that undermine sales. The end of this year has proven that inflation has not dissuaded consumers from wanting to eat out and shop at their favorite restaurants and stores.

The ending of 2022 offers us a time to reflect, though more importantly, it offers us a chance to be excited about the future. 2023 is already shaping up nicely and as a marked enhancement over the past several years. Economic improvement, new tech, and hungry consumers await in 2023.

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