Holiday Shoppers On Move Earlier, Shifting To Ecommerce

In further proof that people are losing interest in Black Friday, two new studies report that more consumers are shopping earlier than last year, with more of their spending shifting to online channels.

The National Retail Federation says 56.6% of holiday shoppers are already hard at it, up from 54.4% last year. Back in 2008, when the NRF first began asking about shopping time frames, only 49% had started. 

And the NPD Group says it has detected a 6% increase in early shopping since last year, with two-thirds of the consumers in its survey saying they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online, up 12% from last year. And they named pure-play e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, as their most likely source, rather than sites run by brick-and-mortar retailers.



“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,” says NRF CEO Matthew Shay, in its report. “There is a real sea change happening in retail when it comes to the how, when, where, and why of holiday shopping.”

Younger shoppers are the most likely to already out there, including 65% of those between the ages of 25 and 44, and 62% of those aged 35 to 44. Women (58%) are somewhat more likely to do so than men (58%.)

So far, clothing is the favorite gift item (named by 60.3% of consumers). And while gift cards come in second, mentioned by 56.3%, that’s a decline from 60% last year. (The NRF’s surveying is conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.)

The NPD Group also reports that clothing is the top category, on the minds of 49% of respondents. And it also expects to see significant spending in food and beverages, books, and entertainment products, like movies, DVDs, and video gaming systems, as well as smartphones.

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