Holiday shoppers are starting ‘exponentially earlier’ this year

November 6, 2017

Now that the Mall of America in Minnesota has changed expectations nationwide by closing on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and giving employees vacation pay so that they, too, can enjoy the holiday, what should retailers anticipate for the traditional start of the shopping season?

According to a recent Nielsen survey, holiday shopping is starting “exponentially earlier” this year, with 26% of Americans already picking up gifts in September.

However, one-third of shoppers are planning to turn out on Black Friday for the first time ever, according to the poll results. And with projected closing on Thanksgiving, jump-started by Mall of America’s decision, fully 49% of Americans still plan to start their holiday shopping before that, on Thanksgiving evening.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday will represent key opportunities for making holiday purchases—with 61% of Americans expecting to shell out holiday dollars on those days.

The average holiday spend, shoppers say, will range between $250 and $500.

Finally, many will not be in the stores at all. Indeed, in response to the recent  Nielsen Total Consumer Report, 43% of consumers said they consider online purchasing better for their schedules; which could bode well for online sites promoting Cyber Monday deals this year—with online dollars up in pet care (73.7%), personal care (32.9%) and household care (23.6%) as of the 52 weeks ended July 1. Among the most likely to shop online early—and late, to grab gifts for the forgotten few—are the Millennials.

Nielsen conducted the online survey among 1,179 respondents during October.

Research contact: genevieve.aronson@nielsen.com