Stores may just be putting out their Halloween displays, but some shoppers are already thinking months ahead. While many consumers think of the holiday shopping season as traditionally starting after Thanksgiving, today’s shoppers are playing Santa even before summer has officially ended.
Nearly a third of consumers and half of parents began their Christmas shopping before Labor Day, according to a new report by the Rubicon Project. Starting shopping earlier can be beneficial to consumers on a budget, since it allows them to spread out the expense of buying presents. However, early shoppers should check store return policies to make sure that the return window doesn’t close before the gifts are given.
Just because they’ve begun shopping already doesn’t mean consumers are hitting the stores. Nearly three-quarters of shoppers said that they’d shop online this holiday season, and one in five said they wouldn’t do any in-store shopping at all.
The Rubicon report finds that Americans plan to spend 12 percent more than they did last year, for an average of nearly $1,200. About a third of that budget will go toward technology purchases. Parents say they plan to spend an average of almost $500 per child on the holidays.
The increase in planned spending may reflect continued improvement in the job market and the overall economy. Household net worth ticked up in the last quarter, and the housing market has also shown continued strength.