More Consumers Get Early Start On Holiday Shopping

The number of Americans who have started their holiday shopping is up over last year, according to a survey released on Friday, November 13, by the National Retail Federation.

According to the NRF Consumer Holiday Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 56.6% of those celebrating the holidays said their shopping for gifts is underway. That figure is up slightly from 2014, when 54.4% of consumers said they started holiday shopping in early November.

“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 and retailers,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “There is a real sea change happening in retail when it comes to the how, when, where and why of holiday shopping. Consumers today are looking for great prices and value-add promotions earlier than ever before, and retailers have answered these demands in several different ways already this holiday season.”

The survey also revealed that nearly two-thirds of shoppers age 24-34 have begun checking gifts off their lists and nearly six in 10 women have also ventured into their favorite store or shopped their e-tailer of choice.

“While there are many ‘Type A’ holiday shoppers who love to get an early start on their wish lists, it’s also likely some of the early shopping we’ve seen has been in the form of ‘self-gifting,’ and there’s no question Millennials love treating themselves to something when the price is right,” said Prosper’s Pam Goodfellow.

Items such as clothing, books, video games and toys remain the most popular gift choices for consumers, according to the NRF survey. However, the number of consumers who said they plan to buy gift cards (56.3%) has slipped a bit from 2014 (60%).

In addition, 40.1% of consumers said retail promotions in early November were “excellent” or “good” while 34.8% rank them as average.

The NRF 2015 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey polled 7,172 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, November 3-10, 2015.