How Holiday Shopping is Different This Year

Holiday windows

Moschino’s 2010 holiday window display.

Is Black Friday no longer the powerhouse shopping day it once was?  According to the National Retail Federation, as many as 39% of consumers have already started making their holiday purchases.  Interestingly, the super early start is a result of frugality, not an extended holiday shopping spree.  Let’s look at some of the causes of the season’s shift to the early side:

  • Though it’s partly to make room for the holiday merchandise itself, retailers have offered aggressive discounts in October, which thrifty shoppers are snapping up.
  • Since there doesn’t seem to be an “it” toy or electronics item to hold out for this particular year, consumers are choosing to get a jump on things by scouting those aforementioned deals instead.
  • Starting early also means being better able to budget and plan — by doing so, there’s less opportunity for last-minute overspending.
  • Stores themselves are also already highlighting holiday items and/or launching their seasonal campaigns earlier.  Hey, it worked for back-to-school shopping this year.

Most notable, however, it seems like those buying gifts now are doing so with a purpose, and when the shopping’s done, it’s done.  The season’s unusually early start won’t necessarily entail a longer one.  Frankly, we wouldn’t mind hearing about the demise of Black Friday — and this year, maybe the madness will lose some steam.  After all, will shoppers feel the need to subject themselves to the crowds if they’ve already bought everything they need in October?