A Holiday First – Procrastination Dwindles As More Shoppers Plan To Start Thanksgiving Weekend

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Online will be the growth driver during the peak of Holiday 2017, reports NPD

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“The consumer that used to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend now shops during it,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group.

The Holiday 2017 shopping season will be the first when more U.S. consumers will start shopping in the middle of the season (Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday) than will start late in the season (i.e. early December), reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. According to NPD’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, getting a late start to the holiday shopping season has become less prevalent over the last 10 years.

“The consumer that used to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend now shops during it,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “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.”

The biggest shift in holiday shopping timing that occurred in recent years was the same year brick-and-mortar retailers introduced earlier store openings on Thanksgiving Day, 2014. Now, in 2017, nearly 30 percent of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend, compared to the 12 to 16 percent in the years prior to 2014. However, there is another important dynamic at play - the largest increase in online shopping plans also occurred in 2014, when 59 percent of consumers planned to shop online during the holiday season, up from 43 percent in 2013. Consumers’ plans to shop online during the holiday season have been steadily climbing. Two-thirds of consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online in the 2017 holiday season.

“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,” added Cohen. “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.”

Methodology
The Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey is designed to better understand consumers’ shopping and spending intentions for the upcoming holiday season. An online survey was fielded in September 2017 among a US representative sample of NPD online consumer panel members. The survey was completed by 3,785 individuals aged 18 and older.

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Janine Marshall
The NPD Group
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