Amazon executive says Omicron impact on vacation spending uncertain, Retail News, ET Retail

NEW YORK: A senior Amazon.com Inc executive said it was still too early to predict the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on consumer spending during the holiday season, but suggested buyers will continue for the moment.

“It’s very early in the process of figuring out what’s going on with the new variant,” said Dave Clark, general manager of Amazon’s global consumer operations, in an interview Sunday morning on “Face the Nation”. from CBS.

Clark said he was “incredibly optimistic” about the ability of scientists and pharmaceutical companies who have developed effective vaccines to respond to the new variant as buyers take stock of developments.

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

Clark’s comments came amid recent supply chain disruptions the Biden administration has linked to the spread of another variant of the coronavirus, Delta.

The United States and other countries are now imposing travel restrictions after the emerging variant of Omicron, first detected in South Africa, began to spread to other parts of the world. In the Netherlands, Dutch health authorities said 13 cases were found among passengers on two flights who landed in Amsterdam on Friday after leaving South Africa.

Britain, Denmark and Australia have also found cases in recent days. While there are no documented cases in the United States yet, health experts have said the variant may already be present.

Clark said consumers for now are moving forward with the reconnection after extended periods of government-mandated lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions.

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

Separately, he said the pandemic has caused people to reconsider how they structure their lives and work, contributing to the challenges of hiring.

“People see their lives so differently during the pandemic,” Clark said. “People have evaluated the type of jobs they want to have, do they want to be in the restaurant business, do they want to be in retail, do they want to be fulfilled, do the two members of the family want to work? What is the structure and configuration of life? “

While Amazon has successfully hired people during the current labor shortage, “it’s a challenge,” he said.

Inflation, meanwhile, is not currently weighing on consumer spending, Clark said. Amazon had a “record black Friday,” he said.

Buyers are spending on clothing and home decor, which indicates they are planning to come together, he said. Spending on electronics has declined, he said, after people invested in home offices for remote working.

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