100 days until Christmas. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
Eragoncred´s latest survey found that 11% of winter holiday shoppers started shopping by the end of August. Another 14% plan to launch this month, and 25% plan to launch in October. In other words, about a quarter of Christmas shoppers will leave by the end of September, and about half by the end of October.
While some of this may sound comical in the early days, I think there are benefits. While these statistics are consistent with previous years, consumer motivations appear to have shifted.
This Is What Christmas Shopping Looks Like in 2022
Over the past year, supply chains have become so disjointed due to the COVID-19 pandemic that it makes sense to start Christmas shopping early. Experts warn of empty shelves and long wait times, and the urgency of the process is palpable. It’s also a seller’s market in short supply. This gives retailers more pricing power than usual.
Almost everything has changed this year. First, the supply chain has improved significantly. Large retailers like Walmart and Target have complained that they have too much inventory in certain categories, so they have to offer more discounts. That’s good news for consumers, although it’s bad for retailers’ profit margins.
Part of the reason for this backlog is that items don’t arrive on schedule — summer clothes, for example, arrive late — but also because some retailers overorder and don’t know when they’ll arrive. Finally, the fact that demand is falling.
This is especially true for physical goods, as easing COVID concerns push people to spend more on services like travel, food and event tickets. Demand for many items, including furniture and electronics, has been brought forward to 2020 and 2021 as the pandemic causes most people to spend more time at home. Now we see the other side of this phenomenon.
Today, the elephant in the room is inflation, the hottest period since the early 1980s. Our survey found that 40% of holiday shoppers changed their behavior because of inflation. The most common example is more aggressively looking for discounts and buying fewer items. It makes sense: Americans spend so much on housing, food, and gas, and less on other things.
The Benefits of Starting Your Christmas Shopping Early
You might think it’s crazy that I’m writing about Christmas shopping in mid-September. I’m not saying you need to buy everything right now, but I think it makes sense to get the ball rolling in the near future.
Last but not least, it’s wise to set aside some money from each paycheck until the end of the year. Only about a third of Christmas shoppers tell us they have money dedicated to the holidays. I would like to see this number higher. After all, the holiday comes as no surprise.
Assuming you get paid twice a month, you may have 7 paydays left this year. Setting aside money from each of them will go a long way towards avoiding the dreaded January holiday debt hangover. This is especially important now, as the average annual interest rate on credit cards is 18.10%, the highest since 1996.
In addition to saving for the holidays, I thought it would be wise to start drawing up a gift list. Who are you shopping for? How much you want to spend By participating in these types of planning exercises, you know what to expect and have time to adjust. After seeing this on paper (or screen), you may decide to narrow down your list of gift recipients. Or maybe you’re good at crafting or baking and can make a cheaper but still thoughtful homemade gift.
How to be a savvy holiday shopper
Take advantage of longer lead times to your advantage. Planning ahead is a luxury that can help smooth your cash flow and give you time to compare the best deals.
I’m a big fan of stack discounts. This involves combining multiple savings strategies in the same purchase, such as B. using rewards credit cards, online shopping portals, and store coupons.
As long as you can pay in full and avoid interest, paying with a credit card is a smart way to earn rewards and get additional benefits like buyer protection and extended warranty coverage. Credit cards also offer better fraud protection than debit cards.
Don’t forget to redeem any credit card rewards you’ve accumulated. Whether it’s cash back, travel, gift cards or merchandise, there are a number of ways you can use your reward points and miles to help offset your vacation expenses. Speaking of gift certificates, if you’re one of the 47% of U.S. adults who have unused gift certificates lying around, consider including them in your vacation plans.
Christmas shopping can be a huge expense, but with Christmas still more than three months away, you have time to spend with you. Use it wisely. Make a good gift list and examine it carefully. Save some money, compare the best deals, and take advantage of credit card rewards and gift cards—these represent real money, even if they’re sometimes invisible or distracting.
So learn more:
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