NEW YORK (MainStreet) – For many Christmas shoppers, it’s all over but the wrapping.
A poll by Reuters and the American Research Group found that 32% of Americans had already finished the majority of their Christmas shopping by the end of November. By comparison, ARG president Britt Beemer tells MainStreet that this percentage is usually in the low 20s at the end of November, suggesting that more Americans are finishing their shopping earlier this year.
The culprit, surely, is Black Friday. The kickoff to the holiday season saw a huge increase in sales from last year, with total sales rising 7% from 2010. While that had retailers doing cartwheels, some analysts cautioned that the early numbers might simply mean that Americans were simply finishing their shopping earlier by taking advantage of doorbuster deals, and that we could expect to see a big drop-off in December.
The numbers from ARG suggest that this may in fact be the case.
“The deals on Black Friday were so good that a lot of people shopped that day, then had a few more items to buy and now they’re done,” says Beemer, explaining that a good Black Friday doesn't necessarily correlate with a strong holiday season. “Black Friday has never been an indicator for the Christmas shopping season.”
There will always be procrastinators, of course. Last year about 12% of shoppers said they planned to put off their holiday shopping until Christmas Eve. But the early deals clearly have shoppers wrapping things up earlier, and Beemer also points to the fact that Christmas falls on Sunday this year, which means that “Super Saturday” – the last Saturday before Christmas, and another huge day for retail – will effectively fall on Dec. 17.
Christmas is still nearly three weeks away. But if you haven’t started your shopping yet, you’re running behind nearly a third of the country.