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Most consumers won't wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start holiday shopping

Every year there is a competition for the longest holiday season, and every year we win.

This year, 45 percent of all consumers will have started their shopping for the holidays before Nov. 1. One-third started before October, according to a survey from RetailMeNot.

And it’s not just extra-early shoppers that are getting ready for the holidays, it’s the in-person ones, too. A report from Natural Insight says 87 percent of shoppers will hit brick-and-mortar stores this season. Even with the early birds getting all the worms, 44 percent of shoppers are still planning to shop on Black Friday, according to solutions and data company Periscope By McKinsey.

Should you shop now or later?

It’s easy to say that shopping year-round is getting the best bang for your buck. Unfortunately, not everyone is thinking about their Christmas purchases in March. But shoppers are conscious of holiday presents way earlier than when “season” starts, or the day after Thanksgiving.

RetailMeNot says most women — 59 percent — are planning their holiday shopping before the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Less than half of men are doing the same. These findings are about the same as they were last year. Half of all parents (and one-third of all consumers) had already begun their holiday shopping by mid-September last year.

Spending will be up, too. RetailMeNot notes that gift-giving will hit an average of $482 this year, with children getting the most of that ($330). Significant others are also getting a sizable chunk: $192. Shoppers are expected to spend about $105 on parents, $90 on siblings, and less than $60 on best friends.

You can shop now, but the Black Friday holiday is expected to last up to two weeks this year, so it’s fine to wait until traditional shopping time starts.

Keep in mind that most are planning to shop in-store this year, even as online shopping continues to increase. Natural Insight says it’s the 45-59-year-olds that are making the trips out to shop, with two-thirds saying they prefer to see and touch a product in person before deciding to buy.

Of course, most say that large crowds cause a lot of stress when shopping in-store. Shoppers also say stores not having what they need is another big stressor. This could be why the Periscope survey notes that more than one-third of shoppers plan to do their Black Friday shopping in-store and online, not choosing one or the other.

“In recent years, Black Friday has been viewed as an increasingly digital shopping event,” Periscope says. “However, the 2017 research reveals that 36 percent [of US shoppers] are planning to conduct their Black Friday shopping activities both in-store and online. That’s a big jump from last year, when just 18 percent said they would divide shopping activities between digital and physical channels.”

Periscope says most people are splurging on electronics (58 percent of shoppers) and clothes (54 percent). Beauty products will take up 42 percent of purchases this year while movies, books, and music will see 33 percent. Toys are expected to be 32 percent of all purchases, but the survey didn’t make a distinction between electronics that are also toys. Looking at you, adults with tablets.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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