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RetailMeNot: Holiday shopping season a full six days shorter this year

It’s something that happens every six years.

There are only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019 versus 32 days in 2018, making the peak shopping season almost a full week shorter year-over-year, according to the 2019 Holiday Insights Hub report from online discount platform RetailMeNot. Owing to calendar structure, the shortened timeframe occurs every six years and will impact retailers, consumers and shipping carriers.

Sixty-eight percent of shoppers say the shortened time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas will impact their holiday shopping this year. Specifically, the mere three weeks between the holidays will lead to earlier deal-seeking (34%) and product research (29%), as well as more stress about completing shopping on time (14%), the report found.

RetailMeNot also observed that Amazon Prime Day has impacted Christmas shopping.

Roughly half of consumers made an online purchase during Prime Week in July. And among those shoppers, 70% who made a purchase through Amazon included a holiday gift in their Prime Day order and 74% who purchased an item through a different online retailer purchased a holiday gift.

In other RetailMeNot findings:

• Only 25% of consumers typically begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday or later. Twenty percent start in September or earlier, 15% start in October, 26% start in November before Thanksgiving, and 14% shop for holiday gifts year-round. As a result, six in 10 retailers worry a majority of consumer holiday spending has shifted to the third quarter from the fourth quarter.

• Black Friday is still a major consumer spending day. The average consumer will spend $738 on Black Friday this year. Seven in 10 consumers say price is the biggest determining factor in holiday purchases, and 62% always research deals or discounts before buying any holiday gifts.

• Three-quarters (76%) of retailers plan to offer more holiday deals and discounts in 2019 than 2018. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to offer deeper-than-normal discounts due to the shortened holiday shopping period. Another 54% will begin offering deals earlier and 44% will mention the time frame in holiday ads.

• As to where consumers will shop this holiday season, the study finds the top five shopping destinations will be big-box stores (71%), e-commerce retailers (54%), department store retailers (50%), online-only retailers (35%), and clothing-only retailers (27%).

• A majority (81%) of retailers are feeling more pressure to compete with Amazon this year, and 96% plan to change holiday shipping tactics to compete with large retailers like Amazon and Target. This includes an increase in the percentage of retailers who will offer buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) – 60% in 2019 compared to 52% in 2018.

For the report, RetailMeNot and Kelton Global surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and more than 200 senior retail marketing leaders on their shopping and shopping and promotion plans for the upcoming holiday season.
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