Survey: More Americans Getting An Early Start on Holiday Shopping

The customary start to the holiday shopping season—Black Friday—may not be the official kickoff anymore, according to industry stats. But it’s still expected to be a big shopping day this year.

After you’ve gotten your fill of Thanksgiving, if you plan on heading to a shopping mall this Black Friday, you will not be alone.

Forty-one percent of Americans are planning to do some in-store holiday shopping this Friday, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Expanded over the Thanksgiving weekend, more than 70 percent of Americans plan to hit stores.

These are similar numbers to last year, but new in 2015 is the percent of people who are beginning their shopping earlier, according to the National Retail Federation.

Roughly 57 percent of shoppers already got a start on their holiday purchases by early November, an increase from 54 percent last year and 50 percent in 2008, the group found as part of its “Consumer Holiday Spending Survey.”

That’s not to imply that Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend is lessening in importance when it comes to holiday shopping.

“Thanksgiving weekend shopping has evolved tremendously over the past few years and can no longer be seen as the ‘start’ of the holiday season, though there’s no question it’s still important to millions of holiday shoppers and retailers of all shapes and sizes,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Shay added that shipping promotions in late November and December will extend the shopping season, but the longer window has required retailers to make changes in terms of the promotions they’re offering and when.

“Consumers today are looking for great prices and value-add promotions earlier than ever before, and retailers have answered these demands in several different ways already this holiday season,” Shay said. Forty percent of NRF surveyed consumers rated the deals being offered this year are good or excellent, while about 35 percent rated them as average.

What are people shopping for this year? In terms of gifts for others, clothing tops 60 percent of people’s lists this year, followed by gift cards, according to NRF’s survey. Other popular items include books, CDs, DVDs, and/or video games.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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