Consumers will have few ways to defend against the pain of higher prices, experts say.
Some will turn resourceful, though, said Mark Rosenbaum, department chair and professor of retailing at the University of South Carolina. "They'll have no other choice," he said.
Strategies might include hunting down deals and promotions. Coupon-finder sites such as Retail Me Not and Coupon Cabin, he predicted, will do well in the battle between countries.
Holiday shopping is likely safe from the impending price increases, he said, because stores have already ordered their merchandise for the season.
To that point, it might be more than just presents you want to pick up sooner rather than later.
"If you believe we're going into a price war, then it makes absolute sense to purchase your high ticket durable item that's manufactured in China, now," Rosenbaum said.
Courtney Jespersen, consumer savings expert at NerdWallet, agreed bracing for the worst is the best strategy. "Leave a little bit of leeway in your monthly budget," she said. "In case some of the items you normally buy begin to cost more than you're used to paying."
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