The true cost of Christmas decreased in 2020, due to cancellations of many live performances, according to PNC’s annual Christmas Price Index.
Considering the impact of social distancing, PNC calculated the 2020 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at just $16,168.10, a considerable decrease of $22,825.45 or 58.5% lower than last year’s cost. One-third of the index constituents were not available for purchase this year.
“2020 has been anything but conventional for consumers, the markets and the economy. In response to these unusual times, we took a non-traditional view in calculating the Christmas Price Index,” says Amanda Agati, chief investment strategist for The PNC Financial Services Group. “The biggest impact has been for live performances, which are mostly unavailable this holiday season.”
While the prices for nine ladies dancing, 10 lords-a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming were zero this year, the cost for the birds accounted for the price increases in this year’s index, totaling $328.50, which represents a 36.4% increase in total from 2019. PNC explains that the inability for consumers to eat at restaurants or even get takeout during the lockdowns drove an increased need for cooking at home, leading to an unexpected increase in demand (and subsequently prices) for fowl.
PNC also says gold rings show correlation between commodities and consumer prices. At the onset of the pandemic in the spring, investors dashed for store-of-value assets, such as gold. As the recovery went on over the summer, there were expectations that inflation was going to creep into markets. Gold traded up 40% from trough to peak, but has retraced some of that rally as the market recovered and inflation fears subsided. The cost of five golden rings in the 2020 index is $945.00, up 14.5% from last year.
The annual PNC Christmas Price Index tradition includes calculating the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items bestowed by a True Love who repeats all the song’s verses. Purchasing all 364 gifts will require $105,561.80, which means that spreading cheer throughout the year in 2020 costs 38% less than in 2019, given the exclusion of live performances.
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