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Holiday Shopping Patterns: The More Things Change...

  • Ad Age, Monday, November 28, 2005 12:45 PM
When it comes to holiday shopping, times certainly have changed, but not entirely. Research shows that over the past 20 years, consumers have dramatically altered how and where they shop--but surprisingly little has changed in terms of when people shop and how much they spend. In the early 1970s, department stores ruled the roost in retail sales, but today they have been replaced by superstores like Wal-Mart and online behemoths like However, November and December, the traditional late-year holiday period, are still the top months for sales. In 1970, those months accounted for 19.8 percent of retail sales (excluding automobiles) and 19.7 percent in 2004, according to American Demographics' analysis of Census Bureau data. December's share of that two-month selling period dropped slightly to 55.1 percent in 2004 from 56.2 percent in 1970. But against the backdrop of a retailing revolution, the stability of shopping activity is testament to how little consumer holiday shopping patterns have changed.



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