University of South Florida


shopping cart full of presents

USF faculty experts available for interviews on holiday trends, including shopping and travel

With the holidays approaching, the University of South Florida offers a variety of faculty experts to discuss how consumers can budget for gift-buying and family gatherings, what to expect from shopping in-person and online and how the holiday travel season is shaping up. 

Listed below are some of USF’s experts by topic. If there is interest in a topic not listed, USF’s Experts Guide is another resource to quickly locate faculty members by keywords, expertise or college. Members of the media interested in an interview are asked to contact Kevin Watler at  or 407-267-8402.


Michael Snipes

Michael Snipes – associate professor of economics: An expert on inflation and the economy, Snipes offers a consumer budgeting and spending forecast for the coming holiday season:

“Overall, it will probably be a lean year for holiday budgets. As we head into November, the four biggest drivers of inflation are food, medical care, housing and energy. Of those, food and energy costs tend to spike when families travel and congregate. And while prices for some goods are starting to stabilize, that doesn’t apply to travel expenses or to toy prices, which are up about 15 percent over last year.”

Carol Osborne

Carol Osborne -- senior instructor of marketing and promotion management: An expert on consumer behavior, marketing, advertising and branding, Osborne forecasts holiday consumer shopping trends:

“COVID, the environment and the economy have changed holiday shopping behavior. The overall impact is a trend toward meaningful gifting rather than indulgent buying, with COVID conditioning consumers to appreciate that less is more. Shoppers are selecting gifts to encourage a healthy lifestyle, making donations to causes and simply spending less or skipping gifts altogether – although they are spending slightly more on themselves.”

Dipayan Biswas

Dipayan Biswas -- professor of marketing: An expert in sensory marketing, digital marketing, online shopping and retail atmosphere, Biswas can talk about how retailers tailor the look and feel of in-person shopping with the expectation that more consumers should return to stores.

Online shopping/cybercrime

Tom Hyslip – assistant professor of instruction, cybercrime: With more than 20 years of experience as a federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Defense, Hyslip can talk about standard tactics cybercriminals use to trick their victims and steps individuals can take to stay safe from cybercrime this holiday season.

Nathan Fisk – assistant professor of cybersecurity education: Fisk can talk about how consumers face another holiday online shopping season expected to include threats such as fake package delivery notifications, fake retail websites and ads, along with a variety of social media-based scams. He can offer tips and best practices for keeping sensitive personal financial information and passwords secure. Fisk can also provide advice for how parents can manage children’s media and screen time over the holiday break.

Supply chain/returns

Seckin Ozkul

Seckin Ozkul – assistant professor, supply chain management: An expert on supply chain, Ozkul predicts a mixed bag this holiday season, with some items easier to find and others remaining scarce:

“The good news is that most supply chains and company operations are back to normal, allowing for products to reach the marketplace in time for the holidays. However, some items solely produced in China might remain unavailable due to production and logistics issues related to the Chinese government’s ongoing COVID-19-related closures.”

Rob Hooker

Rob Hooker -- associate professor of marketing and innovation: An expert on supply chain, Hooker can talk about whether brick-and-mortar retailers and online sellers will again encourage early shopping in anticipation of supply chain issues, and how this applies to certain products and product lines.

James Stock -- distinguished professor of marketing: An expert on supply chain and reverse logistics, Stock can talk about what happens to the goods that consumers return and whether retailers will see more in-person returns this year. He can also help consumers understand the sustainable process through which returned goods are recycled and remanufactured.


Faizan Ali

Faizan Ali -- associate professor of marketing: An expert in hospitality, tourism and travel, Ali can talk about whether we can expect to see record numbers of travelers, with the worst part of the pandemic behind us. He can also discuss whether people will flock to warmer climates after being stuck at home in cold states the past two years and whether this could be a record winter for resorts, hotels and restaurants.

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