Although there have been moderate (emphasis on the word “moderate”) economic gains made in the past couple of months, don’t be fooled into thinking 2013 will be cheaper than 2012. Because it won’t be (didn’t you read the headline?).
Indeed, what with the 2012 drought, the subsequent rise in the price of commodities, the shipping costs associated with existing ethanol mandates, and maturing technologies, it’s guaranteed that certain items will increase in prince next year.
But which products will be more expensive? We’re glad you asked.
Each year, the folks at dealnews put together a list of the products that will “cost consumers more in the coming year,” as dealnews’ Laura Heller explains, “and it seems as if some prior trends are finally coming to an end — the price of gold may finally hit its peak in the next few months — while the cost of a college education is still on the rise.”
“Luxury goods continue to command an ever-increasing premium, and one new hot commodity – copper – could be problematic for home owners and beer drinkers alike,” she adds.
Without any further introduction, here are six of the 12 items that will probably rise in cost next year [block quotes via dealnews]:
Meat, poultry, and dairy prices are all expected to rise thanks to this summer’s drought. Feed corn and grass were most effected, and the impact from their scarcity will soon be felt at the grocery store: price increases will hit right along with the new year. Since drought conditions forced farmers to reduce the size of their herds to combat higher feed costs, the price of beef and chicken is also slated to rise. The cost of dairy products, too, will be affected, as fewer and leaner cows produce less milk. Overall, the USDA expects food prices to rise 3.5% to 4% in 2013.
Cereal and bakery product prices will rise too, as a result of the 2012 drought and lower wheat yields. Prices in this category began creeping up in October, and the USDA’s Economic Research Service forecasts cereal and bakery product prices to rise 2.5% to 3.5% next year.
Health Care Premiums on the Rise
Obamacare not withstanding, employee health care premiums are expected to rise an average of 6% in 2013, according to Aon Hewitt, a human resource consulting firm. That amount will vary by state and type of plan, but overall, employers will face higher premiums and the increased cost will be passed along in part to employees.
Copper & Beer
Move over gold, it’s copper’s time to shine! Copper prices could be on the rise thanks to a move by the SEC to approve a fund to trade the metal. The fund could lead to scarcity and higher prices, as it did for gold. The problem is that copper is used in plenty of consumer items, including residential water pipes, wire, pots, and kettles, as well as equipment for brewing beer, distilling liquor, and making candy.
Say Goodbye to Subsidies for Smartphones
The U.S. smartphone market has long been subsidized by service providers, offering phones at reduced prices with the signing of long-term contracts. In 2013 T-Mobile will eliminate the subsidy and charge full price for its phones. While there’s evidence to suggest that the carrier will in turn allow users to opt for cheaper service rates (thus saving money in the long run), the pill of a full-price phone may be hard for many to swallow.
While somewhat unsurprising, 2013 will see a 4.5% to 4.9% hike in shipping costs from both UPS and FedEx, the latter of which is slated to raise rates beginning January 7. Higher shipping costs may affect customers who predominately shop from “independent” sellers, like those found on eBay, etsy, and the like, but it may also have an impact on retailers that presently offer free shipping.
Since merchants end up paying for the handling and delivery of orders that “ship free,” the increased UPS and FedEx rates may affect the frequency of, and threshold at which, online orders receive free shipping in 2013.
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