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Holiday Shopping Starts Earlier Than Ever

Holiday Shopping Starts Earlier Than Ever

It’s time to change your holiday plans. Your audience sure has! 

People are searching and cataloging ideas for their holiday shopping earlier than ever. Not just weeks earlier, but months. This revelation is essential to your business – if people are planning their shopping earlier, you need to plan your marketing earlier to keep pace with your customers.

If you don’t, you’ll be starting after they’ve already shopped around, and your promotions will be left in the dust.

Why wait to reach your most enthusiastic customers?

When you connect with the early planners, you connect with the household CEOs – a larger audience that purchases and spends more. Get in touch with them first and you have the chance to be their first choice for shopping.

However, even though marketers and businesses have prioritized these planner-types, they often make some completely wrong assumptions about the timing of their promotions. I recently heard from a CMO, “I’m going to hold off on my Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday marketing. No one thinks that far into the future, yet.” Right?

Absolutely not! The latest research shows the opposite. Consumers are not waiting around – in fact, they started earlier than ever last year. 46% of consumers surveyed by the National Retail Federation had already started their shopping earlier than they did in 2021. 61% of consumers surveyed in early November had already started their holiday shopping, up from 59% last year and just 51% a decade ago. Shockingly, more than one-quarter of total holiday shopping had been completed by early November.

So, what changed the behavior of consumers?

Some consumers may start shopping around earlier in the year to help spread out their purchases instead of spending a big sum all at once. This is a continuing trend from the 2021 holiday season, when consumers started their holiday shopping earlier than ever due to growing supply chain and shipping issues. With growing interest rates and overall inflation, these shopping concerns are compounding.

There are also more emotional reasons that many shoppers are starting earlier than ever. Consumers crave the comfort of the holidays after a tough year. What once felt more like a chore now feels special – even alleviating – and has taken on new meaning. It’s something to look forward to, now more than ever, and that’s motivating consumers to buy earlier.

Keep this in mind when moving forward with your holiday marketing.

Research shows that this year, consumers are explicitly looking to brands for help with navigating the changing holiday climate while still making the festivities feel special. As you plan your holiday promotions, you should think about how to meet the early planner’s needs. For example, consumers on Pinterest who plan early are more likely to self-gift as well. Pinterest is even predicting that they’re more likely to be first-time hosts.

From self-gifters and traditionalists to rookie hosts and ship-conscious shoppers, consider these different planner archetypes when creating your holiday promotions.

You need to follow the lead of your audience. If they’re early, you should be early. Position your brand so that it’s the one that they discover first.

We recommend starting your offers in the first week of November. Give yourself the time you need to plan your promotions, optimize early enough to get SEO results, schedule your ads, reach out to influencers and partners, etc. If you’re going to be ready to keep pace with your audience this holiday season, you’ll need to have already started or jump on it now!

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