A survey of almost 3,800 American shoppers in September showed that more people plan to start early in their holiday shopping in 2017.
NPD Group’s poll showed that more consumers plan to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend or in early December. In the past, most Americans have started to shop after the end of Thanksgiving, according to NPD analyst Marshal Cohen.
An estimated 30% of shoppers would begin their holiday purchases during the Thanksgiving weekend. This increased from only 12 to 16% before 2014, according to the survey. In the last 10 years, fewer Americans have decided to do “last-minute” shopping for the holiday season.
Cohen said that online sales would be a significant factor for the peak shopping period during Thanksgiving this year. The availability of more online shopping websites may be the cause of early spending, as around two-thirds of Americans intend to buy items online to complete their shopping list. Whether more Americans plan to shop early in 2017, stores need to be prepared for the influx of shoppers, especially as sales are predicted to increase this year.
Retail manager training programs will be necessary to handle an expected increase in sales, which are expected to be worth up to $682 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The expected increase in sales from November to December would be between 3.6% and 4% higher than 2016.
The NRF provided the estimated increase through a range instead of a fixed percentage, due to the uncertain impact of the recent hurricanes. While it predicted that online sales would continue to grow, traditional retailers have been forced to keep up by reinventing their services.
The earlier timing for Americans’ holiday shopping in 2017 bodes well for retailers, although traditional stores need to improve their offerings to stay relevant and be competitive against the continuous rise of e-commerce.