PITTSBURGH — The 12 gifts that compose the PNC Bank Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI) increased to $46,729.86 this year, 2.7% higher than last year.
That said, True Loves are getting a bit of a break, PNC said, as this year’s increase was noticeably lower than last year’s hefty 10.5% increase and slightly less than the Consumer Price Index topline, which is at 3.2% year over year.
Now in its 40th year, the PNC CPI is a light-hearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) CPI, which measures the change in prices consumers could expect to pay for True Love’s gifts as outlined in the classic holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
“The most aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hiking cycle in history and slowing growth in some of the largest global economies, along with other macroeconomic crosscurrents, have helped lower the PNC CPI compared to recent years,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC’s Asset Management Group. “Certain industries are experiencing stickier inflation than others, some of which is well beyond the Fed’s control. The good news is that wage growth is now higher than the PNC CPI, which should help True Loves deck the halls this year, considering we are still in a high-inflation environment.”
There were no price increases this year for five of the gifts, including the four calling birds, five gold rings, seven swans-a-swimming, eight maids-a-milking and nine ladies dancing, according to PNC. However, while the cost of a partridge was unchanged, there was a 15% jump for the pear tree.
And while True Loves will see little to no increases in goods on their shopping lists, rising wages for skilled labor will make a bigger dent in their holiday budgets. While the cost of nine ladies dancing did not increase, that of the 10 lords-a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and the 12 drummers drumming increased 3.3% this year. PNC said that was still substantially lower than last year’s 14.6% surge, however.
Shopping online doesn’t offer a break, either. Buying all 12 gifts online this year costs 4.8% more than in 2022, for a price tag of $52,024.03. PNC noted that shopping from home is still being impacted by elevated, pandemic-era shipping and packaging costs.
The PNC CPI, introduced in 1984 by the chief economist of a PNC predecessor bank in Philadelphia, has often mirrored trends in the U.S. economy.
“We crunched the numbers and found that since the PNC CPI launched, the BLS CPI has increased 191%, while the PNC CPI increased 133%. The methodology differences are obviously going to give distinct results, but the overall inflation trends have remained remarkably consistent over the years,” Agati said.
The cost of all 12 gifts is reported on PNC’s interactive website.