News Bureau

November 30, 2019

Holiday shopping started, 25% shopping is done!

More than half of consumers have already started their holiday shopping and nearly a quarter of purchases have already been made, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

 “This is further evidence that the holiday season has grown far beyond the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Thanksgiving is still a hallmark of the season, and there are billions of dollars in shopping still to come. But many consumers have already been shopping for weeks, and retailers are increasingly adapting to that.”

The survey found 56 per cent of consumers asked during the first week of November had already begun their holiday shopping, about the same as the past few years. That was up from 48 per cent who had already started at the same point a decade ago. On average, consumers had completed 24 per cent of their shopping, the highest level in the history of the survey and up from 16 per cent in 2009. Only 4 per cent had finished shopping.

Those numbers are even higher than an earlier NRF survey that found 39 per cent of holiday shoppers planned to start before November this year, saying they wanted to spread out their budgets and avoid both crowds and last-minute stress. Another 43 per cent planned to start in November, and only 18 per cent said they would wait until December.

“Consumers don’t wait for Thanksgiving or Black Friday anymore and neither do retailers,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Retailers responded this year by offering promotions earlier than ever, with some rolling out holiday deals even before Halloween.”

NRF defines the holiday season as of November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that sales will total between $727.9 and $730.7 billion. Consumers expect to spend an average $1,047.83 – including purchases made earlier – for an increase of 4 per cent over last year, according to NRF’s annual survey released in October.

There are only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, down six days from last year and the shortest number possible, but NRF does not expect that to make a difference in spending given the number of people who begin shopping earlier.

Even with many consumers shopping earlier, NRF estimates that 165.3 million people will shop in stores and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, drawn by good deals, tradition and the social aspects of spending time with friends and family.


Consumers plan to purchase three or four gift cards on average at an average $47 per card for a total of $27.5 billion. The top reasons for giving a gift card are that it allows the recipient to choose their own gift (46 per cent) and is easier and faster than choosing a traditional gift (29 per cent).

Restaurant cards are the most popular, chosen by 35 per cent, followed by those for department stores (30 per cent), coffee shops (23 per cent), Visa/MasterCard/American Express/Discover (also 23 per cent) and entertainment such as movies or music (18 per cent).

Credit cards remain the top form of payment at 42 per cent, followed by debit cards (37 per cent) and cash (19 per cent). Forty-four per cent of holiday shoppers plan to use alternative payment systems, with 32 per cent saying they will use PayPal, 10 per cent Apple Pay, 7 per cent Google Pay, and 5 per cent each Samsung Pay and Venmo.


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