It’s hard to believe but Christmas is only a few months away and people are already starting to shop for holiday gifts in preparation for the busiest retail time of the year.
To get an early read on the biggest retail season of the year, Field Agent Canada surveyed 2,104 Canadians about their initial thoughts on holiday shopping for 2023.
The survey found that 44 per cent of people are going to be shopping earlier, four per cent later and 52 per cent the same.
“Retailers and suppliers will be wise to put their best foot forward in terms of assortment and pricing to capture the spending by those early shoppers,” said Jeff Doucette, General Manager, Field Agent Canada.
“Shoppers will be on the lookout for deals and to create a Merry Christmas while controlling overall spending.”
When asked what month they will start their holiday shopping, the breakdown was as follows: already started, 18 per cent; September, 13 per cent; October, 25 per cent; November, 35 per cent; 1st 15 days of December, 10 per cent; and last few days before Christmas, three per cent.
Doucette said retailers are trying to get out earlier and earlier, ahead of each other.
“I think COVID, and the supply chain challenges there, trained us to get it while you can,” he said. “And I think just with the recession, people have more of a sensitivity around price and if they see a good deal on something they’re grabbing it because it might not come back later.
“We asked people if they bought any holiday gifts during Amazon Prime Day in July and 26 per cent said yes. So sometimes they’re doing it not even consciously that they’re buying stuff for Christmas. It’s kind of out of sight, out of mind.
“Also, 74 per cent of respondents said they would buy Christmas gifts during the second Amazon Prime Day in October. The big events coming up for shopping like Black Friday 86 per cent will shop on that day, 76 per cent will shop on Cyber Monday.”
Here’s where Canadians plan to buy holiday gifts: shopping centres, 77 per cent; big box stores, 81 per cent; small local shops, 54 per cent; online retailers, 81 per cent; and craft fairs, 34 per cent.
With rising concerns about inflation and a potential recession, Canadians were asked if this would impact how much they spend this holiday season – 16 per cent said No and 84 per cent said Yes.
When asked if those factors would impact where they spend their money, 32 per cent said No and 68 per cent said Yes.
“We don’t have any comparables (to previous years) but sort of the sentiment when we go through some of the verbatims in the survey is like ‘my holiday budget hasn’t gotten bigger even though there is inflation, so I need to be smarter or in the end just buy less things’ and part of that solution is the follow on question of shopping in different places where they wouldn’t have shopped in the past to find gifts that may be a better deal,” said Doucette.
“Those big box, discount retailers have that advantage where people might shop early, grab some deals . . . watching the flyers a bit more. It’s pretty important.”
Doucette said people feel they have to be smarter these days to outwit inflation.