Two out of  three consumers say so

Those who haven’t started their holiday shopping by now are becoming a rare breed, data shows.

Black Friday used to herald the start of the holiday shopping season, but in recent years the number of Americans who say they are starting holiday shopping before Thanksgiving has risen to as many as 2 out of 3 shoppers.

“How consumers shop has changed pretty dramatically in the past 10 years,” said Rod Sides, a vice chairman and leader of Deloitte’s retail practice, emphasizing that the shift is driven by even more spending moving from in-store to online.

Online shopping began to take a larger share from in-store purchases in 2017, according to Deloitte’s survey. The pandemic only accelerated that trend: In 2020, consumers said they expected to spend more than 60 percent of their holiday budget online. 

Gone are the retail taboos that kept Christmas-themed presentations from showing up in stores before Thanksgiving, Sides said. People are buying earlier for many reasons: Some because they think they can get a better deal earlier, and others because spreading out holiday purchases helps keep their budgets in check.

This year, because of supply chain issues, some shoppers are buying early and stockpiling gifts.

“We all went through the pandemic. We all went through the great toilet paper shortage,” Sides said. “Consumers are now much more aware of supply chains.”

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