Omicron’s Effect On Holiday Season Spending Is Unknown, Says Amazon Exececutive

A senior Amazon.com Inc executive said it is too early to determine whether the Omicron coronavirus variant could affect consumers’ spending habits this holiday season, however, he suggested that consumers will continue to shop for items now.

“It’s very early in the process of understanding what’s happening with the new variant,” said Dave Clark, chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, during a Sunday morning interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Clark stated that Clark is “incredibly optimistic” about the potential of pharmaceutical and scientific companies who have created efficient vaccines that can react to the new version as consumers review the latest developments.

“Consumers are going to wait and see in terms of what happens … but are going to move on with their lives into this holiday season,” Clark said.

Clark’s remarks came against the backdrop of recent disruptions to supply chains that which the Biden administration has been able to link in the development of a different coronavirus type, Delta.

It is reported that the United States and other countries have imposed restrictions on travel after the emerging Omicron variant, first discovered within South Africa, began spreading across the globe. Within the Netherlands, Dutch health authorities have confirmed 13 cases in two travelers on two planes which landed at Amsterdam on Friday following departure from South Africa.

Britain, Denmark and Australia have also reported cases in the last few days. Although there aren’t any documented cases as of yet from Australia, Denmark or United States, health experts claimed that the disease could already be there.

Clark said that for the moment, consumers are reconnected after long periods of government-mandated lockdowns and other restrictions on pandemics.

“People want to have a very thoughtful holiday season and want to prepare themselves to go back out into the world, if you will. And that’s what we’re seeing in their spending,” Clark said.

In addition, he stated that the epidemic had forced people to rethink the way they organize their lives and their jobs which led to challenges in hiring.

“People are looking at their lives so differently through the course of the pandemic,” Clark said. “People have evaluated what kind of jobs do they want to have, do they want to be in the food service business, do they want to be in retail, do they want to be in fulfillment, do both people in the family want to work? What’s the life structure and setup?”

Although Amazon has been able to hire people to fill the current shortage of labor, “it is a challenge,” the CEO said.

The inflation rate, on the other hand it isn’t currently dragging down consumers’ purchases, Clark said. Amazon has “a record-breaking Black Friday,” Clark said.

People are spending their money on clothes and interior decor, a sign they’re planning to together again, he added. The amount spent on electronics has dropped in the past, he added, following the people began investing in home workplaces for remote work.

(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)

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