Many Shoppers Just Aren't Buying Christmas Stuff In October

Apparently a lot of U.S. consumers feel the same way as our readers do about stores putting up Christmas displays before Halloween—that is, they don’t like it. A new survey finds that despite early store displays, 40% of shoppers don’t plan on starting Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving, an increase of 10% over the previous year.

One of the survey group’s analysts writes, “I spotted the first holiday set-up in a store on August 18th this year – that’s nearly a month earlier than last year. Retailers are looking to start the season earlier but consumers just aren’t ready.” He also blames the low enthusiasm on the lack of any “must-have” products this season, and says that retailers are a victim of their own deep discounting as Christmas nears, which has conditioned shoppers to wait for better deals.

“Christmas in October? No thanks, shoppers say” [CNN Money]

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(Photo: Getty)

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  1. darkclawsofchaos says:

    patience is a virtue, can’t wait for a $100 gift card for a purchase of a 360 from some B&M store

  2. synergy says:

    I kind of figure, too, that with people losing their houses left and right, they’re probably not in a position to be blowing a wad of money right now or maybe even any time soon.

  3. liquisoft says:

    But then, 60% DO plan on buying stuff before Thanksgiving, meaning the stores are still roping in a big number of consumers.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    @liquisoft: This is what people SAY they’re going to do, not what they’re actually going to do, as the last minute shoppers prove every year.

    @synergy: This should be an interesting shopping season. Are people REALLY hurting bad enough that they’ll cut out the luxury items or will they rack up more credit card debt? We’ll see.

  5. uricmu says:

    Isn’t the whole point of putting the christmas stuff out so early to get people into a happy festive shopping mood for stuff that isn’t holiday specific?

    You know what I mean. That cozy atmosphere of seeing the trees and toys and red and green and while everywhere, and you just want to stay in the nice and festive warm store rather than to go into the snow, sorry, the 80 degrees October heat?

  6. uricmu says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: Umm, who’s going to give you that ?

  7. Lordstrom says:

    What bothers me even more is when back-to-school signs are up about 3 weeks into Summer. That is deplorable.

  8. nan says:

    What a coincidence. There was X-mas music playing at Macy’s when I had to venture there to make a return this morning. It was weird.

  9. Balance_In_Life says:

    Heh, actually at the retail store I work in, we have moms and dads already buying Wiis, XBoxs and PS3s. It still won’t change the fact that I will hate my life come black friday.

  10. yg17 says:

    @uricmu: I went to Lowes yesterday, and they already had their christmas crap out. And it made me want to get the hell out of there and not shop there. I bought the one item I needed, left, and proceeded to go to my car, where I turned the AC on which means it’s still fucking hot and thus, NOT TIME FOR CHRISTMAS CRAP!

  11. headon says:

    At what point did the retail economic index become tied to a fictional character (Santa Claus). It’s possible that retailers should consider building their house on a foundation of something more substantial than make believe.

  12. PinkBox says:

    It weirds me out when they have the Christmas stuff right next to the Halloween stuff… :P

  13. @synergy: Yep. Nobody has any money. Savings are down, the number of people carrying debt on credit cards month to month is up, and people are losing their houses. That’s got to have some effect.

    @lorddave: I hated that when I was a kid. Why do they have to kill people’s buzz like that?

  14. timmus says:

    @yg17: Me too!!! Last night I was at Lowes buying stuff for an electrical job and my 3-year old kept saying he wanted to go see something. When I was done he trotted me over, and there was all the Christmas stuff spanning 3 aisles going full steam. Ridiculous! It’s still 90 degrees outside and we haven’t even gotten to Halloween, much less Thanksgiving! The retailers are doing hurting themselves by doing all this early holiday crap. It just creates more and more apathy, and in some cases I would think it hardens people to segregate their own Christmas traditions to the exclusion of the commercial festivities.

  15. ElizabethD says:

    It’s hard to feel Christmasy – at least here in New England – with temps in the 80s, as we’ve had much of this fall to date. (That’s all about to change… crisp weather on the way.)

    Also, I think ppl are waiting for those last-minute deals. Whether or not that’s good consumer strategy, I don’t know. It’s kind of like the housing market: buyers are waiting for sellers to blink, i.e., lower prices some more. The great standoff.

    IMO most retail goods are priced so drastically above wholesale cost, everyone knows the retailers can slash prices again and again until they become more palatable to consumers on a budget. Like those tacky Gap clothes we were discussing earlier. Where do they get off with their pricing? It’s not Brooks Brothers for crissakes. Get real, retailers!

    Thanks, I feel a little better now. ;-)

  16. mookiemookie says:

    Anecdotal evidence aside, retail sales (as measured by the International Council of Shopping Centers/UBS index) have been surprisingly stable this year. They’ve backed off a bit in August, but not as much as you would think with the whole subprime and credit mess.

    Are consumers racking up more credit card debt to fund their spending? Probably. I’m just not sure that the people who were taking out subprime mortgages in the first place were the same ones buying high dollar items like plasma screen TVs and whatnot.

  17. etinterrapax says:

    Articles like this prove that in retail, everyone has an abusive boyfriend.

  18. ogman says:

    It doesn’t matter to me what time of year they put the Christmas crap up; I’m just not buying a lot of stuff. My costs are up and income is flat. The tax increase we all got this year from our gas station, health coverage, and credit card companies, has snuffed out my enthusiasm for spending. In fact, I did what little Christmas shopping I’m doing last month.

  19. SybilDisobedience says:

    I never shop before November/early December. Partly because, if I buy stuff too early, I forget where I hid it (and sometimes that I bought it at all); and also because, if I find a really good gift that I know the recipient will go nuts for, it’s nearly impossible for me to hold on to it for long. I want so badly to see the look on their face that I end up giving the gift early half the time. If I bought my presents in October, that’d pretty much guarantee a Christmas on Halloween.

  20. SimonSwegles says:

    The retail holiday creep does irritate me a bit. But I don’t get exposed to it all that much, and when I do I tend to ignore it. I do all my Christmas shopping throughout the year, online. When I find good deals on the items I intend to buy for my loved ones, that is when I snap them up.

  21. no.no.notorious says:

    @FLConsumer: no…who wants to admit to themselves they can’t afford something? it’s sick.

  22. bostonguy says:

    I think my wife & I are going to repeat what we did for friends & family last year: tins of homemade cookies!

  23. csdiego says:

    I will admit to buying a couple of gifts last week, because they caught my eye while I was on a certain website shopping for something else. And I’ve started on some craft-y gifts. This is going to be a frugal Christmas for me.

    But there’s no way I’m buying any decorations, if in fact I need to buy any at all this year, until well into December. I might put up a seasonal wreath after Thanksgiving, but lights and all that don’t go up until Christmas Eve at my house.

  24. nebraskabill says:

    I have refused to make x-mas purchases from stores that have anything related to the annoying holiday before turkeyday. I buy a few presents for my immediate family and have no kids so I don’t have to worry about killing anyones holiday spirit but the stores have gone too far as I see the situation anymore. This is just annoying to consumers to see this before Halloween even anymore.

  25. Sudonum says:

    I had to go to Hobby Lobby yesterday to get some stuff for a school project for my stepson. It was kind of strange seeing displays up for Halloween, Thanksgiving AND Christmas decorations. And I did buy my first Christmas present there yesterday. The had 25% all electric train sets so I bought one for the grand kid.

  26. Anonymous says:

    online shopping as it becomes more trusted and popular will hopefully change the way it becomes insanity every year.

  27. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    I hate going to stores and finding Christmas stuff out before the end of November. It is disgusting to say the least. I understand that our society has made this holiday into a spending spree rather than a focus on family but for fucks sake August!

  28. Imaginary_Friend says:

    We have a wonderful Christmas tradition in our family: everybody picks a name out of the Santa hat and you are only responsible for buying a gift for that one person. Since you know who you’re buying for a year in advance, you can buy when the item is on sale and be done with it. It also allows you to spend a little more than you normally would since you’re only buying for one person.

    This method tskes all of the stress out of Christmas and allows us to enjoy each others’ company during the holidays rather than stress out over how much we’re racking up on our credit cards.

  29. lim says:

    I have found that I only have enough holiday cheer to last 3-3.5 weeks tops. Dragging all these decorations, music, etc. out now and shoving them down my throat only helps ensure that by the time Christmas comes around I just don’t want anything to do with it. Bah humbug and all that.

  30. UpsetPanda says:

    Tim Burton was doing the Christmas Creep long before the stores. It’s called The Nightmare Before Christmas.

    Oh for all the people in 80 degree weather…I had a sweater and a coat on today when I left for work. It wasn’t even 8 am either, it was noon. It was a “warm” 60 degrees in D.C.

  31. Does replying to a post make it go bye-bye?

    No, one of the posts I replied to is still here but synergy’s and FLConsumer’s is gone. Were they flagged?

  32. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @uricmu:
    possibly Toys r us or Best Buy, it has happen in the past

  33. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    I don’t know what’s happening with disappearing comments. I’ve seen talk of the issue on other threads. Nothing’s been deleted here on our end. And I haven’t gotten any flagged comments on Synergy or FLConsumer (although flagging a comment doesn’t make it disappear — it just e-mails me a report).

    I’ll pass word along to the Gawker folks, but since it’s the weekend, I’m not expecting any kind of solution until Monday. :-