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How early is holiday shopping starting this year?

Half of consumers will shop in-store for holiday items.

A new survey reveals when most consumers plan to start making holiday purchases — and where.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents plan to start their holiday shopping before Halloween, and 44% will begin before Thanksgiving, according to a recent survey of more than 6,000 U.S. consumers from shopping and rewards app Shopkick,

Fewer than four in 10 (37%) respondents say they are planning to shop on Black Friday this year (a 24% decrease from 2021), and 20% plan to shop on Cyber Monday (a 47% decrease from 2021). 

Respondents are evenly split between shopping primarily in-store or online (50 % each respectively), compared to the 71% who planned to utilize both channels in 2022. Of the respondents shopping in-store, 83% plan to purchase holiday gifts at big box stores, followed by off-price retailers (44%), department stores (37%) and club stores (33%).

Among respondents prioritizing online shopping, 77% plan to shop at pure-play sites like Amazon, Overstock (now and Etsy.

Four in 10 Gen X respondents and 38% of surveyed baby boomers plan to shop on Black Friday, compared to 18% of millennial and only 3% of Gen Z respondents. Eight in 10 respondents overall (79%) say that sales and promotions will influence them most when it comes to holiday purchases, while other factors such as advertisements (22%) and in-store holiday decor (18%) will also affect their shopping decisions.

Inflationary impact

More than six in 10 (62%) respondents say inflation and the continuing looming recession have impacted the way they plan to shop for the coming holiday. To save money on holiday purchases, 77% plan to tighten their shopping budget while others plan to shop for deals and sales (48%), limit the people they buy gifts for (41%) and shop more online to save on gas (32%).

Four in 10 (39%) respondents intend to spend less on holiday shopping, as 68% have a smaller budget because of inflation. Only 17% plan to spend more and 35% of those say it’s because they have more people to shop for.

Other findings

  • More than four in 10 (42%) respondents do not have (or plan to have) a holiday shopping strategy this year. For those that do, their main strategy is to utilize shopping rewards apps and/or coupons (81%) while 70% plan to shop earlier and spread out purchases, 56% will prioritize deal days and big sales, and 55% will prioritize purchasing gifts for their closest friends and family.
  • Six in 10 respondents are considering sustainability when holiday shopping this year. 
  • A solid 84% majority of respondents say free shipping and returns are the most important incentive when it comes to shopping online. Other popular online shopping incentives include fast shipping (46%), flexible and extended return policies (36%), “buy now, pay later” (20%) and “buy online, pick up in-store” (12%).

Shopkick surveyed over 6,000 U.S. consumers between July 20 - July 25, 2023 to gain insight into how consumers are planning to shop for the 2023 holiday season.

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