Short shopping season brings consumers incentives


The rush is on. Local malls are already preparing for Santa, and with good reason. More people than ever are shopping for the holidays. 

That could be good news for you. 

Malls and local retailers have already been decking the halls and promoting discounts in the hopes you'll get in the holiday spirit.

You know by now, more stores than ever before are opening earlier on Thanksgiving. 

K-mart is doing a 41 hour blitz from 6:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning through Black Friday. Macy's is opening on turkey day, as well, for the first time in its history. 

But you don't have to wait until then to get the holiday deals, and many people aren't waiting.  The reason?  For one, a shorter shopping season.  A late Thanksgiving means six fewer days than last year to shop so retailers want to push incentives now to draw people into their stores. Santa is arriving at Hamilton Town Centre tomorrow.

And after the government shutdown, consumers aren't as confident right now. So they're not planning to spend as much, and are looking for ways to stretch the budget.

The average person is planning to spend $737.95 this holiday season, which is down 2-percent from a year ago. 

  • 29% of consumers say national fiscal concerns are likely to affect spending
  • 41% started shopping before Halloween
  • 38.8% will start shopping this month
  • 51.5% will shop online 

That 51-percent represents more online shoppers than ever before; which is why stores like Wal-Mart are already kicking off deals online, a month earlier than usual. 

Look for free shipping deals well before Cyber Monday. 

Retailers are facing a shorter holiday season since Thanksgiving falls late. So that's one reason they started holiday promotions about a month earlier than usual. Black Friday is traditionally the kick off to the holiday shopping season; but not so this year. 

More consumers than ever before are expected to do their shopping online and retailers are giving them incentives. 

Almost all retailers are trying to make it easier for you to shop with your phone.  So you'll be able to find discounts for a longer period.  "When you walk into any of our stores with your iPhone app," said Wal-Mart's Neil Ashe, "it'll flip to in-store mode and you'll have all the benefits of e-commerce while you are shopping in our stores."  

Target for one is spending more on holiday advertising and extending its price match policy, as well as its buy-online-pick-up-in-store service.  Wal-Mart kicked off its online deals a week ago, and is offering free shipping on almost all online purchases.