When Do People Start Christmas Shopping?

The holiday season brings an enormous boost to the retail industry as people buy gifts and treats for Christmas. The festive period can have a significant impact on sales, so it’s no wonder that some retailers start pushing Christmas stock as early as September.

With extensive preparations to be made and copious amounts of friends and family members to buy gifts for, this begs the question: when do people start Christmas shopping?

We recently conducted a survey to find out when people start saving for Christmas, but now we’re going to find out when the British public begin their holiday preparations. Read on to discover what they said.


Most consumers begin Christmas shopping in November

Of the 2600 people surveyed, almost a third of respondents revealed that November was the month that they started their Christmas shopping. The second most popular month to start shopping for Christmas was October, with 19% of people saying that they started preparing for the holidays in this month.

Of course, these figures do not mean that people complete their Christmas shopping in October and November, however, it shows that the majority of Brits opt to prepare early and get a head start on their Christmas shopping.


When do Christmas sales start?

Many companies start their Christmas marketing campaigns after Halloween and Bonfire Night. This suggests that many organisations remain vigilant with consumer spending habits in order to capitalise on early Christmas shoppers.

Interestingly, September and January came fourth and fifth in the survey respectively, with 10% and 9% of those asked saying they started shopping in these months. As well as this, each month from March until August received between 2% and 4% of the overall responses, showing that only 14% of people start their Christmas shopping in Spring and Summer combined.

This may mean that there is an untapped market out there which could convince people to make the most of summer sales.


Plan ahead for the best chance of success

Whilst September closely follows the pattern of October and November shoppers buying gifts in the run-up to Christmas, the popularity of January is indicative of the trend to shop during the post-Christmas sales in the New Year.

This also highlights that there are two types of organised people – those who start shopping months in advance to give a significant amount of time, and those who start shopping directly after Christmas to save money. Both of these types of consumers are useful to be aware of as they are looking for different benefits from their shopping habits.


How successful is targeting last-minute Christmas shoppers?

With 19% of people saying that they started their Christmas shopping in December it shows that for many people the holiday season really is only one month long. This also means that pushing sales in December will be effective as the smaller amount of time left for people to organise their Christmas gifts means that they will be keen to get everything arranged for Christmas day.

The least popular month to start Christmas shopping was February with only 1% of people saying they begin preparing for the festive season in this month. It may simply be that people are looking ahead to the rest of the year and that the lack of reductions means there are fewer people shopping. It also means that marketing anything related to Christmas at this time of year is likely to be ineffective.


How does this information benefit your business?

Paying attention to these Christmas shopping trends could be really beneficial for your business. Acknowledging when people may be beginning to spend their money could help you understand your employees’ priorities as well as those of your customers.

By integrating this information with marketing strategy it is likely that you will be able to increase sales; placing convenient reductions or adverts that align with the thoughts of a significant proportion of consumers can be all it takes to boost sales and end the year on a real high.


Contact an Alexander & Co accountants to help your business grow

If you’re experiencing a high volume of sales following the Christmas period, contact Alexander &Co to see how we could maximise your growth.

Our accountants are experienced in areas such as tax, business growth and retail accounting, so, we can give you the help you need to take your organisation to the next level.

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