The holidays are mere weeks away and approximately 25% of Americans are getting a head-start on their shopping to ease the impact of higher costs.
A study commissioned by Bazaarvoice in August asked 1,000 shoppers about their upcoming plans and preferences when it comes to holiday shopping.
Consumers Started Holiday Shopping Months Ago
According to the survey, 11% of consumers said they started working on their holiday shopping list back in July, while 13% started in August. In September, 19% of Americans were hitting the stores to pick up holiday items.
Things will pick up in October, when 35% of consumers are planning to tick off items on their shopping list. However, in November, the most holiday shopping activity will occur, with 57% of shoppers planning to be in action. December looks like it will shape up to be the second most popular month for holiday shopping, with 48% of shoppers planning to get their holiday list tackled just in time.
People Are Mostly Planning To Shop in Store
Shopping online is popular, but shopping in the stores is more so. Many shoppers — 81% — are planning to do their holiday shopping in person, whereas 72% will shop online. Only 22% are planning to shop on social media.
Holiday Shoppers Prefer Ads About Black Friday Deals
Black Friday is on Nov. 24, with ads starting to run around mid-October. Most holiday shoppers — 64% — want to learn about Black Friday deals via ads, while 46% want to learn about them through social media or marketing. Furthermore, 42% prefer to get the lowdown on special holiday deals from news articles and gift guides.
Use Deal Sites and Price Trackers
“Use deal sites and price trackers to determine if you’re getting a good deal,” recommended consumer analyst Katie Roberts with DealNews. “CamelCamelCamel, for example, shows the price history of tons of Amazon products, so you’ll know if the price drop for an item is noteworthy or you should wait to buy. If you’re not seeing a good enough deal during the early Black Friday sales, it may be worth checking again during the actual Black Friday events. And if the Black Friday sales don’t bring the price you want, look to see what discounts are available during the Cyber Monday sales.”
How To Score the Best Deals on Holiday Items
Besides lessening the impact on your wallet by spreading out your holiday shopping over several months, here are some ways to score the best deals on holiday items.
Use Social Media
“Follow your favorite stores’ social media accounts and keep a close eye on them,” Roberts said. “You might see retailers announce coupons, holiday sale previews or other promotions there first, and learn about savings opportunities you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”
Play It Smart With Shipping
“You can’t count on getting free shipping when shopping online these days, but you can take steps to save money on it,” Roberts said. “For example, if you’re buying online from a store with brick-and-mortar locations, you can use curbside or in-store pickup instead of paying for items to be shipped to you. Those pickup options are usually fast and free.
“Also, if you’re shopping at Amazon or Walmart and don’t subscribe to their Amazon Prime or Walmart+ programs — both of which offer free shipping — you could sign up for a 30-day trial to take advantage of their delivery perks during the holiday shopping season.”
Stack Deals, Rewards and Loyalty Points
“Layer your purchases with deals and promotions — particularly those that provide you with a reward,” said Brett Narlinger, a global commerce and retail expert with Blackhawk Network. “For example, many people who buy gift cards can do so as part of promotions that reward shoppers after the initial purchase with loyalty points, more gift cards and other rewards you can later use to buy something you need. Research found 37% of consumers are purchasing more gift cards for self-use, primarily to help manage or control spending.”
Tap Into Your Found Money
Narlinger said, “Got an unused gift card lying around in a drawer or taking up space in your wallet? Or loyalty points sitting in a retailer’s app? Put them to good use. Gift cards and points are found financial resources that can help you lighten the financial blow of inflation and save money on everyday purchases (or even splurge items).
“They can also avoid taking on debt during challenging economic times when inflation is at a 40-year high. Paying with gift cards can also help you stick to a tighter budget and get the most bang for your buck.”
Make Strategic Purchases To Earn Fuel Rewards
“Many major grocery chains offer reward programs linked to gas discounts,” said Narlinger. “Stores offer double, triple — and sometimes even quadruple — rewards points when you buy gift cards from their stores as part of certain promotions. After saving money by earning and using fuel points, you can hang on to the gift cards — rather than giving them to someone as gifts — and instead use them to buy things you need.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Americans Are Already Holiday Shopping — 5 Ways You Can Fight Inflated Costs