Small Businesses Must Adjust to Earlier Christmas Shopping Season, ComScore Says

Trend: People Shop Earlier for the Holidays -- Adjust Your Marketing Plans Accordingly

It is August and the talk about holiday shopping has already begun in earnest. According to ComScore, for brands without plans to get in front of consumers early, this can pose a threat. It can also be seen as an opportunity for those who want to meet the rush early.

Trend: People Shopping Earlier for the Holidays

This year, the holiday shopping season will have 33 days, but the six days starting with Thanksgiving and ending with Cyber Tuesday will grab the lion’s share of consumer spend. Early shoppers are also increasingly making these purchases online.

Trend: People Shop Earlier for the Holidays -- Adjust Your Marketing Plans Accordingly

For small businesses, this means adjusting marketing strategies to get the most bang out of your ad spend. According to ComScore’s Ryan Williams, Head of Client Insights, Retail, Travel and CPG, the shift is compounding the problem for marketers.

In a post on the official ComScore Blog, Williams says, “Given that many consumers have fixed budgets for the holidays, as budgets are depleted in the few days after Thanksgiving, brands unable to leverage the early rush of online Thanksgiving retail holiday shoppers may find there are fewer consumer dollars to capture as the holiday season winds down.”

Fewer Days for Brands

According to the report by ComScore, the average daily spend in the two weeks before Christmas is getting lower. This, Williams says, will give brands fewer consumer dollars after Thanksgiving in the coming years.

Small Business Deals

He points out the Average Daily Spend Index has been going down. It was 0.84 in 2015 and 0.80 in 2016. Although the rate was the same in 2017 at 0.80, ComScore says it should be read as, “The average daily spend between Green Monday and Christmas in 2017 was 20% lower than the overall holiday daily average.”

Trend: People Shop Earlier for the Holidays -- Adjust Your Marketing Plans Accordingly

Why the Change?

The change to early holiday consumer spending is being driven by lower prices and deals as they shop online to finish the list of items they want to buy. Shoppers are also waiting to buy big-ticket items during the days on and between Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Cyber Tuesday.

No matter what the reason, Williams says consumers have shifted to making their holiday purchases earlier, especially via ecommerce.

For brands, this means creating marketing strategies to take into account the trend as well as adjusting their inventory, industry segment and capacity to address the fluctuations which will undoubtedly take place.

As Williams points out, “Over the next couple years, starting as soon as 2019, there will be fewer days for brands to catch up if they don’t find success around the Thanksgiving holiday.”

A presentation addressing these and other trends titled, “State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in 2018” can be downloaded here.

Images: ComScore


Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

3 Reactions
  1. Yes. It is quite common for people to shop as early as the Ber months. It seems that they are all thinking about the same thing so shopping season now extends from September to December.

  2. I totally agree. It is quite common for millennials to shop earlier and get the best of everything than shop later and only get the leftovers.

  3. The times have really changed. It seemed that people are now more concerned about getting the best gifts than just getting the gift giving over with.