More than half of consumers have already started their holiday shopping, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The survey found 56 percent of consumers had begun shopping by the first week of November. The result was similar to the past few years, but up from the 48 percent recorded a decade ago.
Consumers, on average, have completed 24 percent of their shopping, the highest level recorded in the survey’s history and up substantially from 16 percent in 2009.
Four percent of consumers have completely finished checking items off their holiday shopping lists, while 18 percent said they would wait until December to start buying gifts.
Shoppers said they would get a head start as a way to dodge crowds, avoid waiting until the last minute, and spread out their spending.
The results are a telltale sign that the holiday season is spreading out beyond the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, NRF CEO Matthey Shay said in a press release.
“Thanksgiving is still a hallmark of the season, and there’s billions of dollars in shopping still to come. But many consumers have already been shopping for weeks, and retailers are increasingly adapting to that.”
Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at NRF, said some retailers responded this year by rolling out holiday deals before Halloween.
The NRF expects holiday retail sales to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent year-over-year, with sales totaling as much as $730.7 billion.
The NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.
There are 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, six fewer days than last year and the shortest number possible.
The NRF surveyed 7,917 adult consumers Oct. 31 through Nov. 6.
Market research company NPD recently published a pre-holiday-season survey as well, breaking down holiday shoppers by generation.
Gen X and baby boomers are expected to spend the most on holiday shopping, according to NPD’s 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey.
Gen Z and millennial shoppers, meanwhile, are the most likely groups to begin shopping on Black Friday.
NPD Group said knowing how the generations differ can be critical for marketers.