Despite the Scorn, Consumers Embrace ‘Christmas Creep’

Every year it seems the retail frenzy around Christmas creeps a bit earlier and earlier, and it may be that we have only ourselves to blame.

Despite the loud sighs and eye rolling that usually occurs when shoppers see Christmas decorations in stores parked next to an aisle of Halloween candy, shoppers are taking advantage of the layaway programs, the toy reservation schemes and early discounting as a way to soften the holiday’s blow to the household budget.

Nearly four in 10 parents with children under the age of 18 begin their holiday shopping before November, according to a recent study of more than 1,600 subscribers to couponing website RetailMeNot.com.

“The reality is that holiday shopping is officially in full swing,” said Jill Balis, senior vice president of marketing at WhaleShark Media, the operator of RetailMeNot.com.

The group has even gone so far as to trademark a term for the phenomenon, “OctoNovemCember,” and it plans to center a new marketing campaign — complete with a mascot, the Pumpkin-Headed Turkey Claus — around the idea.

 

RetailMeNot’s research shows that only 15 percent of consumers wait until after Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving, which now marks the end of the Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy — to begin their shopping. Far more, some 32 percent, said they are done with their holiday shopping by the end of Cyber Monday.

While the research suggests that an uncertain economy marked by high unemployment is contributing to the behavior, there may be a good reason to getting going on the holiday shopping before the Black Friday frenzy, which has long been considered the unofficial kick-off of the holiday shopping season. The reason: there may be more savings to be found if you shop before Black Friday.

According to the company, shoppers on RetailMeNot.com reported saving more on their purchases on Thanksgiving Day than they did on Black Friday. What’s more, these shoppers spent 5 percent more on an average order on Thanksgiving than they did on Black Friday.

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