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Survey: Younger adults plan to start holiday shopping early

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christmas holiday shopping cart
41% of consumers said they planned start holiday shopping before November, while 59% planned to start afterwards.

More than a quarter of Americans, and a large number of younger shoppers, plan to start their holiday shopping earlier to find the best deals.

According to the latest survey figures from the Shopify-Gallup Holiday Shopper Pulse, more than one in four holiday shoppers (28%) would consider starting their shopping earlier than usual. Nearly half of young adult holiday shoppers (48%) said they would definitely or probably start earlier, defined as early fall.

Four-in-10 consumers (41%) said they planned start shopping before November, while six-in-10 (59%) said they will wait until November or December. The earlier shoppers include 24% who had already started or planned to start shopping in September and 17% who said they planned to start in October. Those shoppers holding off longer include 39% who will begin in November and 20% who planned to start in December.

“While the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday includes the most notable shopping days of the holiday season, many shoppers will have begun their gift-buying long before then,” said Gallup. “Given that a significant percentage of holiday shoppers plan to shop early, it is worthwhile for retailers to offer holiday deals and promotions long before the traditional start of the season in late November.”

Gallup found that more than nine-in-10 shoppers (93%) will buy at least some gifts online this year, including almost half who will purchase most (41%) or all (6%) of their holiday gifts from online retailers, providing key insights for retailers’ e-commerce operations. The groups that plan to shop online the most this holiday season are upper-income consumers (those whose annual household income exceeds $100,000, 55%), adults aged 30 to 49 years old (55%) and parents of young children (54%).

When considering two products that are of similar quality, features and retail price (or the same product), 39% of surveyed consumers said that a good shipping & fulfillment experience (free shipping, ability to pick up or receive product the same day you purchase it, faster shipping) was the top reason to choose one over another. Nearly a quarter (23%) said that they would prioritize supporting small and local businesses when choosing, while 16% and 14% valued deals & promotions and positive product reviews, respectively. 

In a separate Gallup telephone poll that ran concurrently, a majority of holiday shoppers (55%) say they expect to spend about the same amount on holiday gifts this year as last year, while 26% indicate they will spend less and 19% more. Younger shoppers aged 18 to 29 are more likely than those in older age groups to say they intend to spend more this year on gifts. While 41% of younger shoppers say their spending will be the same as last year, nearly as many (37%) think they will spend more, while only 22% expect to spend less.

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