One-Stop Shopping Continues to Lure Holiday Deal-Hunters
The holidays may still seem a distant way out, but Americans are already crossing items off of their shopping lists. In fact, as of end-of-September, one-third (33 percent) of consumers say they have already started their holiday shopping, up significantly from 25 percent in 2015, according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.
When it comes to gifts, Americans expect to spend an average of $908, an 8 percent increase from last year ($839 in 2015), and among affluent consumers, the expected gift spend increases to an average of $1,513.
Across the board, the most popular gifts to give this year are:
- Gift cards (52 percent vs. 57 percent in 2015)
- Clothing and accessories (51 percent vs. 47 percent in 2015)
- Toys and games (50 percent vs. 44 percent in 2015)
"While consumers are spending more money on gifts this year, they are becoming savvier with how they spend their time shopping," said Kartik Mani, executive vice president of global consumer lending at American Express. "With our constant connection to technology, more Americans than ever before are using their mobile devices to help them make holiday purchases."
More than 3 in 4 Americans (76 percent) are turning to their mobile devices for their holiday shopping, whether to browse, compare prices or view deals (vs. 58 percent in 2015). There has also been a significant increase (62 percent) in Americans planning to purchase and/or redeem e-gift cards on mobile devices this year (26 percent vs. 16 percent in 2015).
One-stop holiday shopping
While mobile will play a major role in holiday shopping this year, virtually all consumers (94 percent) will turn to online, whether they're researching, comparing prices, looking for hard-to-find gifts, or ultimately to make a purchase.
For the past four years, about 60 percent of consumers have preferred to make their holiday gift purchases online. The "go to" place for online holiday shopping are shopping networks, such as Amazon and eBay (65 percent), followed by superstores, like Target and Walmart (48 percent), which give consumers the convenience of "one-stop shopping" for everyone on their list.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday
Though many consumers are getting to their holiday shopping earlier and earlier, Black Friday is still a major holiday for retailers and consumers alike. Fifty-three percent (53 percent) of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year, up significantly from 45 percent in 2015, and it is the highest level of participation since 2010 (the first year polled as part of this study). Not far behind, 50 percent of consumers have plans to shop on Cyber Monday, up slightly from last year (47 percent).
Hosting for the holidays and managing stress
Holiday spending goes far beyond shopping for gifts. In fact, Americans expect to spend an average of $443 on holiday-related expenses this year (up 7 percent from $414 in 2015), like hosting and attending holiday parties, as well as decorating the home for the season. In particular, spending on decorations has increased 58 percent from 2015 ($185 vs. $117), and costs associated with attending a holiday party have increased 57 percent from 2015 ($119 vs. $76).
Despite all the joy and warmth that the holiday season brings, it can be a very busy and costly time for consumers. The amount of time consumers are devoting to holiday prep is up 25 percent (58 hours vs. 47 hours in 2015), which can include time spent at holiday parties, cooking, traveling to see family, and most of all, shopping for gifts (17 hours). Not surprisingly, seven out of ten consumers admit that they find the holidays to be stressful, which can mainly be attributed to shopping, budgeting and entertaining.