Nearly half of consumers, 46 percent, plan to start their holiday shopping before November and one in four plans to have it all completed by Black Friday, according to the latest RetailMeNot "Shoppers Trend Report."
The survey, conducted in partnership with The Omnibus Company, also revealed that 15 percent of shoppers pick up holiday gifts over the course of the year to spread out the cost.
"These findings reflect the shift we've seen over the past few years toward an extended holiday shopping season," said Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "Where Black Friday used to be the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, it's now close to the finish line for many consumers who've started taking advantage of deals earlier in the season and throughout the year. However, the 'Five Days of Savings' (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) still represents a meaningful part of the holiday shopping season, both in-store and online, as we see retailers continue to deepen their discounts on RetailMeNot during this period."
With more consumers headed to stores early, retailers are responding by opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, brands are readying their e-commerce sites. Retailers are expecting a big increase in online sales, 86 percent in year-over-year holiday sales, according to a ChannelAdvisor multichannel e-commerce study.
One in three consumers believes stores opening on Thanksgiving Day means those who have to work on Black Friday will get to partake in great sales. And about 22 percent of those surveyed saw the turkey day openings as something fun to do with the family. Finally, one in five see Thanksgiving as a way to get even better deals than on Black Friday.
Whatever day consumers plan to shop, the discounts will have to be worthy. According to a new report from PwC and Strategy&, as many as 72 percent of consumers believe the economic environment is the same or worse than last year. Therefore, 84 percent plan to spend the same or less money than in 2013.
Bodge also predicted some trends for Black Friday this year, including the need for retailers to release strong offers throughout the "Five Days of Savings." Another trend is staggering deals to prevent overly hectic shopping days. In addition, more retailers will offer price matching. And finally, retailers will offer incentives to join their loyalty programs.
Despite on-going deals, the three most popular shopping days will still be Black Friday, 36 percent, Cyber Monday, 32 percent, and Thanksgiving Day, 25 percent.
-See this RetailMeNot press release
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