Black Friday, our national buying orgy, may mark the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season, but it seems that a lot of consumers didn't get the memo this year. Two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans will not be hitting the stores to begin their seasonal shopping marathon on the day after Thanksgiving, according to a new poll.
It's not that that people aren't getting into the holiday spirit, though, or are turning off the shopping spigot. They're just picking different days and different ways to get their shopping on, according to a poll of more than 1,500 U.S. adults conducted by Consumer Reports.
Thirty-four percent polled said they'll shop online during the weekend after Thanksgiving and an equal number will shop online on Cyber Monday. And while most Americans won't be hitting the stores this weekend, almost all (90 percent) are looking forward to the holiday season — including 26 percent who said they are really looking forward to it, the pollsters said.
Nonetheless, consumers are taking their own sweet time getting to their holiday shopping lists this year. More than half (57 percent) of Americans had yet to begin shopping for holiday gifts as of mid-November. More than a quarter (26 percent) said they still had plenty of time to shop for the holidays while 17 percent were holding out for sales and promotions.
Only 9 percent confessed that they were procrastinating.
There are also largely undaunted by current events, Consumer Reports found. When asked to take into account recent events in the country in the past year, such as the state of the economy and the presidential election, 84 percent said that they expected the upcoming holiday season to be at least as happy as it was last year. However, the Great Recession clearly had a financial impact: 51 percent said that they will spend less money during this holiday season than they did before the recession.
As a result, more Americans will be on a budget this holiday season (41 percent) compared with last year (41 percent), Consumer Reports said. Sticking to that budget, though, historically presents problems for many consumers — 36 percent said they spent more than they budgeted last year.
"Our poll revealed that Americans have a mostly positive outlook on this year's holiday season and by and large, aren't letting the economic malaise of the past few years dampen their spirits," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reportssenior editor and resident shopping expert. "However, it's clear that the recession took a toll, as many consumers told us they spent more conservatively, and gave fewer and less-lavish gifts than they did before it hit, for example."