Study: More consumers doing their holiday shopping earlier

Industry Insight

holiday shopping The end-of-the-year holiday season might be getting even longer if consumer shopping behavior is any indication. A new report from CFI Group, a customer satisfaction technology and analytics firm, has found that a significant number of shoppers – particularly the highly-coveted millennial group – are starting their holiday shopping earlier than they have in years past.

Although Black Friday weekend is commonly regarded as the start of the holiday shopping season, the CFI Group study found customers were starting their holiday shopping long before that. In fact, nearly half of respondents (45 percent) reported they will have already embarked on their holiday shopping sprees before the month of November even rolls around.

The end-of-the-year holiday season might be getting even longer if consumer shopping behavior is any indication.

Consumers making less than $50,000 annually will start even earlier, hoping to stretch their budgets by taking advantage of discounts and deals as they arise.

As for the Black Friday weekend, people aren’t going all out as they have in the past. Fewer than 25 percent of customers plan to spend any more than half of their holiday shopping budgets over the course of the holiday weekend. This is even more so the case with millennials, with only 21 percent claiming they would shop at all during the retail holiday.

Coupons and incentives can help influence holiday shopping behaviors, with one-third of shoppers saying sales would motivate them to shop with a specific retailer. However, 25 percent said they also prefer to shop at stores that offer low prices every day, so retailers should think carefully about their target audience as they develop their holiday marketing campaigns. Consumers are becoming increasingly cognizant of their options with the rise of smartphones and other technology, which makes it all the more important for retailers to consider what’s important to their customer base.

“At a time where customer empowerment is at an all-time high, measuring and understanding drivers of customer experience has never been more important,” the CFI Group report added.

With the NRF forecasting a 3.9 percent increase in holiday spending in 2013, merchants must be adequately prepared to provide a satisfactory shopping experience to their customers. ECommerce software can help streamline back-end operations to avoid any complications during this hectic time.