Consumers Delay Holiday Shopping

More consumers plan to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to start their holiday shopping, and will go online to purchase gifts when they do according to the NPD Group.

April 6, 2018

Consumers Delay Holiday Shopping

More consumers plan to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to start their holiday shopping, and will go online to purchase gifts when they do according to the NPD Group.

The NPD Group's 2014 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey found not only that the holiday shopping season will be delayed this year, with a majority of consumers planning to start after Thanksgiving, but also that 60 percent of consumers plan to do at least some of their shopping online this year, making online the leading channel for holiday shopping.

At the time of the survey, 16 percent of consumers had already started their holiday shopping versus 15 percent last year, with an additional 19 percent stating they plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving, compared to 22 percent last year. Eighteen percent claim they will start during Thanksgiving weekend, a sharp contrast to last year’s 13 percent. Among the consumers reporting that they will begin their shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, 12 percent plan to shop on Black

Friday, while the remaining 6 percent plan to do their shopping on Saturday and/or Sunday.

“Consumers are anticipating the Thanksgiving weekend door-buster deals and other savings incentives, and as a result of their proven interest in special sales and deals, retailers last year began to open on Thanksgiving Day, with more stores jumping on this new tradition this year,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “However, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean more sales at the register. This year we’ll see more shopping happening in the Thanksgiving zone, a deeper lull following, and finally a mad dash at the end for the last-minute shoppers.”

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year, making online the leading channel for holiday shopping. Women are more likely than men to shop online (62 percent versus 57 percent), as are those with children in the household.

Online is leading the way for consumers through all phases of their purchases, from pre-shopping homework to the checkout counter. Two-thirds of those who do pre-purchase research claim that they will utilize online research to learn more about products before making a holiday purchase, topping consumer reviews and television ads, among others. In addition to special sale prices and overall value, consumers list convenience and free shipping as top purchase drivers, tying into the online appeal.

The majority of consumers intend to spend the same as or more than last year, and fewer reported that they plan to spend less (20 percent, compared to 22 percent in 2013).

“Online has truly become the place for consumers to start and finish their holiday shopping," says Cohen. "Last year we saw a mad dash at the end, with many consumers disappointed because gifts were delayed due to so much last-minute online shopping. Hopefully stores and shippers learned from that mistake, and will be more prepared for the even bigger crush to come closer to the holidays this year.” 

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