Will Americans get started earlier or later this year on their Christmas shopping?
Walmart anticipates shoppers getting an early start on their holiday gift purchases this year and has already rolled out its toy catalog to help them out.
On August 30 Walmart unveiled its “2022 Top Toy List” and stated in a press release that it was intended to help customers plan ahead and save on holiday gift purchases, according to PYMNTS. The article points to the move as a way for Walmart to get customer dollars sooner in an economic environment where spending could be down.
This plan is consistent with a recent study that says shoppers will be more likely to spread their dollars out earlier in the holiday season as ongoing concerns about inflation change spending habits.
A Salesforce survey reported by Practical Ecommerce found that 37 percent of consumers anticipate starting to shop for the holidays early this year. According to that article, customers may shift their Christmas spending from the big seasonal shopping holidays (like Black Friday and Cyber Monday) back into October or earlier to avoid spending a lot of money all at once.
On the other hand, Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, anticipates customers shopping later this holiday season than they have been in the previous years of the pandemic.
After an earnings report, Ms. Barry told reporters on a call that, whereas over the past two years customers shopped early due to concerns about stockouts, this year would be more like pre-pandemic holiday seasons with shopping throughout November and December, Bloomberg reported. Best Buy plans to maintain its promotional discounts through those months, as the chain anticipates a more value-conscious customer this Christmas due to inflation.
Last year surveys from RetailMeNot and AlixPartners both found U.S. consumers planning to shop earlier in the season for holiday gifts. The July 2021 RetailMeNot survey found that 19 percent of shoppers said they planned to begin their holiday shopping in August or earlier, 30 percent said they would shop earlier than in 2020 and 66 percent said they wanted to get their holiday shopping done as early as possible.
Inflation May Lead to Early Christmas Shopping – Practical Ecommerce
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think more consumers will shop earlier or later for holiday gifts this year than in recent years? Will promotional activity play a bigger role in driving traffic and sales this year than we’ve seen since the pandemic began?