This year we are using our polling platform to monitor consumer “shopping progress” through the holiday season. This data may be particularly important this year, since consumers for the past eight weeks have consistently told us that more of them plan to spend less this season compared to 2014:
(The above chart reflects a sample of 6,093 U.S. adults from September 29 through November 6, 2015.)
Knowing each week the percent of consumers who say they are complete or nearly complete with their holiday spending can help retailers assess future sales expectations for the rest of the year and make campaign and promotional adjustments quickly.
Since mid-September, CivicScience has been asking consumers “How far along are you in your holiday shopping?” Of the 7,191 U.S. adults who plan to holiday shop, we found that 22% have started.
If we only look at responses from the past week, we found that 30% of adult holiday shoppers have started, so it seems that the conclusion of Halloween may be the marker for hitting the stores.
With a little over six weeks until the end of the holiday season, let’s find out who has started their holiday shopping. Starting with those who have only completed a little and comparing them to the average U.S. adult.
“I’ve Done A Little”
- Gender: 35% more likely to be women than the average U.S. adult.
- Age: Slightly more likely (+10%) to be 35+ years old.
- Income: 30% more likely than the average U.S. adult to earn $75K-$125K.
- Parental status: 12% more likely to be a parent and 26% more likely to be a grandparent. They are also slightly more likely to have children in college.
Based on previous research, we found that men are more likely to procrastinate when it comes to holiday shopping, so it’s not surprising that women are indexing higher here. With children and grandchildren in the mix, this group probably has quite a few people on their gift list, which could be why they get a head start on their holiday shopping.
- Potential spokesperson: 18% more likely to tell family and friends about products they like.
- Coupon user: 60% more likely to use coupons every chance they get when shopping for non-grocery items.
- Online holiday shopping: 44% more likely to do 25% to 75% of their holiday shopping online.
- Holiday grumbles: This group is slightly more likely than average to say they don’t dislike anything about holiday shopping in stores (maybe because they get out before the major crowds, which is the biggest in-store shopping complaint). However, when they did list their in-store holiday shopping grievances, they were slightly more likely to say the lack of customer service and the attitudes of other shoppers are what they dislike most.
Although this group of early shopping “dabblers” has a slightly higher household income than average, they are still looking for deals and coupons. Those who have done a little shopping are also more likely to take advantage of holiday shopping online, which could make it easier and more convenient for them to get a head start on their shopping lists.
Now let’s profile those who are at least halfway done with their holiday shopping by comparing them to the average U.S. adult.
At Least Halfway Completed
- Gender: 16% more likely to be women than the average U.S. adult.
- Age: 18% more likely to be 55+ years old.
- Income: 36% more likely than the average U.S. adult to have a household income of more than $125K.
- Parental status: 37% more likely to be a grandparent. They are also slightly more likely to have children in college.
These consumers have similar traits to the consumers who have started doing a little holiday shopping. However, those who are more far along with their holiday shopping are a bit older and more likely to have an even higher household income. Their higher income may mean they will be purchasing more holiday gifts than the average adult.
- Coupon user: 75% more likely to use coupons every chance they get when shopping for non-grocery items.
- Unemployed: 21% more likely to be retired, a student, or a homemaker.
- Holiday spending: 25% more likely to plan on spending more this holiday season than last holiday season.
- Online holiday shopping: 34% more likely to plan on doing more than 50% of their holiday shopping online this year.
- Holiday grumbles: They are more likely to say they dislike the attitudes of employees most when holiday shopping in stores.
Given their employment status and age/grandparent status, this group may have a little more free time on their hands relative to the average adult. They have a higher household income than average and are more likely to say they will spend more this holiday season than last, but they also use coupons more. By starting their holiday shopping early, they are able to better plan around sales without having to deal with the holiday rush. Those who are at least halfway done with their holiday shopping are also more likely to do the majority of their shopping online, which is interesting given their older age skew – but can certainly allow them to complete a larger percent of their purchases sooner and with less hassle.
As the holiday season progresses and when the large sales start, it will be interesting to see how rapidly the trendlines change in the number of consumer who have started shopping. We will report back in the beginning of December to see how things have changed and who still hasn’t started their holiday shopping.