Promotions will power the holiday season as savings drive early shopping. But there are many promotional days that lie ahead, so it might feel like the deals could be better as the final days approach.

With 62% of shoppers intending to complete more than half of their holiday gift purchases online, there’s a lot of shopping to be done between now and December 25th.  That got me thinking about whether I should be an early bird holiday shopper or procrastinate as I have in the past. By suggesting three pros and cons for each approach and sharing how the 1,055 consumers we surveyed as part of Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights 2019 survey shopped, one can see the both the risks and rewards. Adobe’s early numbers find that $19.7 billion has already been spent from Nov. 1 through Veteran’s Day, a 17.5% increase year over year, so perhaps shoppers are leaning towards the early buy. We shall wait and see.

Why You Should Shop Early

1: Get the job done now.

Early is pre-Black Friday for purposes of this column. More than half of shoppers (57%) start their holiday shopping before Black Friday.

Promotions are important to shoppers, but for me, getting it done early has an impact far beyond just the dollars. Only 34% of those surveyed agree,

but that’s not surprising. There is value in shopping as you go because it puts you in a position to take advantage of promotions on the items you have on your list. This week I was prompted to do some early bird shopping when I was sent a $100 Nordy Club Reward from Nordstrom. I’ve already used it and will surprise my daughter with a pair of snow boots as the winter weather has already set in in Chicago. I’m likely to hunt around for other items on my list, which I’m sure is their intention, and hopefully we will both benefit with good deals and happy gift recipients.

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2. Seize the day and be ready to save money at every turn.

Promotions will power the holiday season as savings drive early shopping.

Like 37% of respondents, I like to get ahead of the curve to take advantage of early bird sales. And just like 32% of those surveyed, I already made my first purchase on Prime Day. Amazon would not be happy to hear that I bought my Keurig Coffee pot from Target, but they had the best price, and my dad was in need of a new model that I stashed away for the holidays.

Several times a year, Sephora extends their Beauty Insider shoppers an additional discount based on year-round spending levels. This becomes the perfect time to stock up on holiday gifts for my daughter who is a big fan. By securing her shopping list in advance, I’m sure to hit it right while also saving money.

I’m constantly on the lookout for emails from some of my favorite retailers so I don’t miss any savings opportunities. 25% of shoppers will be browsing email for gift ideas while 66% will check for sales and specials and 62% check for coupons or promotions. Of course, there’s no need to fret because if I miss it today, chances are there will be another promotion next week.

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This weekend I received an unexpected Singles Day promotion from Beautified by You, another beauty company where I replenish basic brands. This purchase falls into the ‘one for me, one for you’ personal gifting realm. This is a behavior that 38% of our participants also suggest will be part of their holiday experiences, so savvy retailers should keep this in mind.

3. Choose your channel of choice based on convenience

Our survey revealed that 30% of shoppers will research half their gift selections online but still buy in store. The ability to research online is a time-saver, but sometimes I just like to go to the store to see the products and subsequently purchase online. I especially like doing the touch and feel at Target as I make my rounds for groceries and other household supplies. Convenience is always the driver, and we shouldn’t underestimate its role in holiday shopping.

Why you should take your chances and wait

December is still the month when most shoppers finish their holiday shopping. Based on this, 82% of shoppers could be labeled procrastinators.

1. Procrastinators often get the best deals, which come later in the season. Plus, I hate to have buyer’s remorse.

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There are many promotional days that lie ahead, and they tend to start November 27th. So, it would feel like the deals might be better as the final days approach.

Shoppers also know that procrastination doesn’t have a big downside. If I have the patience to stay the course, I often find the best deals come at the end. Of course there is risk involved, so one should weigh the tradeoffs. As my dad said about the stock market, you’re never going to buy on the low and you’re never going to sell on the high, so a middle ground might be just the best bet.

2. It easy to be patient and monitor promotions to make sure you get the best prices.

Throughout the season, I monitor the 10-12 items on my list. A perfect example of that is the Chicago Blackhawks tickets I will put in my daughter’s stocking. There are a number of games we can attend, so I don’t have to feel pressured. Even if there was just one must-see game, I can check Stub Hub and watch for deals without pulling the trigger too soon.

3. You can get products quicker than ever, so no sense of urgency is needed.

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Many of us know all too well that there’s no need to rush when products are readily available and delivery is faster than ever (and often the same day if desired). While 70% of respondents cited a concern around having products in stock, I feel those fears may be unfounded. Retailers, particularly Amazon and other top sellers, have focused extensively on logistics this year and fast delivery is part of current shopper patterns. We can all sleep well knowing that the last-minute delivery should not be a problem. Just keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates.

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