62 Million Consumers Begin Holiday Shopping before ‘Black Friday’

October 2, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Household Income | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

More than one in three holiday shoppers – or 62.3 million adult consumers – report they begin holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, according to (pdf) new data from Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI), reports Retailer Daily.

Just under 36% of holiday shoppers say they begin shopping between Thanksgiving and December 15, and close to 26% say they start their shopping between December 16 and 23, MRI’s 2008 Omnibus Recontact Study found.

Approximately 2% of holiday shoppers don’t begin their holiday shopping until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.


MRI’s profile of early shoppers who comb retail shelves and online shopping sites before Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season:

  • Almost 62% are women, who are 18% more likely than holiday shoppers in general to begin shopping before Thanksgiving.
  • Although all age groups include early shoppers, Boomers from the largest single age group: Some 38% of early shoppers are Boomers, making them 11% more like than holiday shoppers in general to shop early.
  • Household income does not seem to be a driver for early shopping, but the need to buy toys definitely is:
    • Early shoppers are 13% more likely than holiday shoppers in general to have bought at least one toy in the last 12 months.
    • They are 18% more likely to have bought 10 or more toys in the last 12 months.
  • Early shoppers are prepared both to give and to receive holiday gifts. They are 9% more likely to have given a personal wish list of gifts they hope to receive to their family and their friends.

“Black Friday may be the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but as many retailers have recognized its strength has diminished as millions of Americans begin their shopping before Thanksgiving,” said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP of Marketing and Strategic Planning at MRI.

“Understanding who these consumers are and how best to reach them will give marketers a leg up in what is shaping up to a be a difficult Holiday Season for retailers.”

About the data: MRI’s 2008 Omnibus Recontact Study is a recontact of a nationally representative sample of 6,423 adult respondents from MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer. MRI’s Omnibus Recontact Study extends the value of Survey of the American Consumer by letting marketers ask their own questions of Survey respondents.

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