Are you planning to get your shit together and start your holiday shopping earlier this year? Do you tell yourself you'll do this every year and never do it, but feel like you're, like, actually going to do it this time, seriously? Well you're not alone, if so. According to retail research firm NPD's annual Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, people are getting better about not leaving their gift shopping to the last minute. They're still not getting that much of a head start, though.
"The consumer that used to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend now shops during it," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. "Despite all the efforts in recent years to get shoppers shopping before Black Friday week we see little to no movement early in the season, but the last-minute shoppers have moved their timing up."
According to the report, nearly 30 percent of consumers plan to shop during Thanksgiving week (note: that's not necessarily Black Friday or Cyber Monday specifically) this year, versus 12 to 16 percent in the years prior to 2014. This shift is pretty clearly driven by the rise of e-commerce as a convenient way to shop for gifts and get deals. Two-thirds of consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year, per the report.
Cohen also confirms a trend we saw in other reports this season: that Black Friday is losing its allure. "The excitement of Thanksgiving Day store openings has now faded, making them a low risk, low reward proposition. While choosing to close on the holiday will not be detrimental to those retailers, the retailers who open won't see a significant boost this year either," he said. "The boost we will see during the peak Thanksgiving week shopping period of the 2017 holiday season will come from online sales – online will continue to grow."
Indeed, with the convenience of e-commerce, lazy, last-minute presents like gift cards and candles are just less excusable. Do with that information what you will.