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Featured Indicator: PNC Christmas Price Index

December 6, 2021 Jessica Tagliafierro

With all the talk of inflation this year, Camoin has been following unique ways of tracking this. PNC’s Christmas Price Index, which calculates the prices of the 12 gifts from the classic holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” is a fun way to look at inflation. For 38 years PNC has tracked the prices of this same set of goods, offering a unique measure of inflation.

What is the data telling us?

The total Christmas Price Index for 2021 is $41,205.58 – a 5.7% increase compared to 2019. PNC excludes 2020 data due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. At its inception in 1984, the total index was $20,070.

On average, the annual change in the index is 2.3%. In 1988, 1995, and 2002 the index decreased from the previous year while increases were experienced in all other years. 2021’s increase is the sixth largest in index history. Years with greater increases include 2003 (+18.4%), 2008 (+11.0%), 2010 (+8.8%), 2005 (+7.1%) and 2013 (+6.6%).

By far, the largest contributor to the index in 2021 (and historically) is seven swans-a-swimming. On a percentage basis, six geese-a-laying experienced the biggest price increase from 2019 to 2021. The cost of individual components of the 2021 index are:

  1. A partridge in a pear tree: $222.68 (+6.0%)
  2. Two turtle doves: $450.00 (+50.0%)
  3. Three French hens: $255.00 (+40.5%)
  4. Four calling birds: $599.96 (0.0%)
  5. Five gold rings: $895.00 (+8.5%)
  6. Six geese-a-laying: $660.00 (+57.1%)
  7. Seven swans-a-swimming: $13,125.00 (0.0%)
  8. Eight maids-a-milking: $58.00 (0.0%)
  9. Nine ladies dancing: $7,552.84 (0.0%)
  10. Ten lords-a-leaping: $11,260.00 (+12.6%)
  11. Eleven pipers piping: $2,943.93 (+7.1%)
  12. Twelve drummers drumming: $3,183.17 (+7.1%)

Why is this important?

According to PNC, several trends have been observed over the 38 years of the index’s existence. In general, the Christmas Price Index tends to change in line with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. The internet has made it easier to find gifts from the song, but the goods and services are generally pricy due to shipping costs. Fuel costs in particular have had a big impact on the cost of shipping in recent years. Additionally, the price of services overall has increased while the price of goods has slowed.

As we head into the holiday season, PNC’s Christmas Price Index is a unique way to explore inflation and price trends. For more information, check out PNC’s website.

Happy holidays from Camoin Associates!




Photo sources:

freestocks on Unsplash

Adobe Spark and Camoin Associates