More shoppers will get their holiday shopping done early this year compared to last, according to a survey released just before Halloween.
In fact, 39 percent of respondents—4 percent more than last year—say they will have everyone marked off their shopping list by early December, reveals the 2010 Multi-Channel Survey by MarketLive. While it's hard to know what's motivating shoppers to buy early, the Black-Friday-like sales that many retailers offered well before customers had the chance to trick-or-treat might have something to do with it.
Sears began its "Black Friday Now" campaign during Halloween weekend; others had already kicked off similar sales and plenty more will soon start theirs, experts say.
"Consumers have been trained to buy merchandise only 'on sale,'" says Sherif Mityas, a retail analyst at A.T. Kearney. "Given a limited budget, if retailers don't capture that first or second purchase, they may find themselves with a lot of inventory the week before Christmas and the need for massive discounting to save the holiday."
Online sellers should benefit from holiday sales, as 44 percent of survey respondents say they'll go online to buy their gifts this year. That's a significant increase from 37 percent in 2009.
Not surprisingly, price will be a key factor in determining which shops get customers' business. The survey finds that 67 percent of shoppers will research their purchases prior to buying. Books, clothing, music, gift certificates, toys and electronics are expected to be the hot gift items.
"Price is paramount during any recession, but when the economy begins to recover, other factors take on greater importance," notes Phil Rist, BIGresearch's vice president of Strategic Incentives. "When shoppers consider other factors like customer service and quality in buying decisions, retailers have the ability to highlight a variety of other features to help their company stand out from the competition."
Shoppers will buy between six and 15 presents, spending anywhere from $100 to $500 this year.
According to the survey, shoppers are expected to spend a total of $447.1 billion this holiday season overall, a 2.3 percent increase compared to 2009.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.