The Economics of New Years Resolutions in Omicron Day

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Are you making New Year’s resolutions for 2022? Did you buy something to make sure you hit your goals? Maybe some workout clothes for the outdoor jogger that you know you’ll be coming up to next year, or a hardcover version of “Anna Karenina” for the book club you want to start.

There is a whole economy associated with New Year’s resolutions. But with COVID once again throwing a wrench into our best-laid plans, is anyone still in the mood to pay for improvement?

There is this concept in marketing called the fresh start effect. Basically, if you’ve just bought that ThighMaster or Self-Help Book, you can be a newer, better version of yourself.

Omicron is making those new starts harder to sell in this new year, said Grant Donnelly, professor of marketing at Ohio State University.

“There is probably some kind of consumer resentment or some kind of pessimism around believing what might be possible,” he said.

Still, he expects a New Year’s bump for some pandemic-friendly brands.

Donnelly wants to spend more quality time with friends in 2022. So instead of buying Scattergories for a game night, he’s looking at “Jackbox.” It’s like a virtual gaming system that allows you to connect with people, ”he said.

The New Year often motivates households to settle their finances, according to Leanna Devinney, financial planner at Fidelity – a Marketplace underwriter.

The financial goals for 2022, she said, could be linked to another pandemic trend: quitting smoking. “I have had clients who have said to me, ‘Being at home, I want to change careers. “

Shashi Bellamkonda’s big goal for 2021 was travel. He was hoping he would spend this holiday season in India, but that never happened. He just tested positive for COVID this week, although he is feeling well and is isolating himself in his Maryland home.

“No, I don’t make resolutions,” he said. “The only resolution people should take is to get vaccinated and boosted.”

Bellamkonda expects 2022 to be more normal. But he’s not buying plane tickets yet.


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