More Consumers Are Starting Their Holiday Shopping Before Thanksgiving, NPD Study Reveals

Planned online purchasing, and top category trends strengthen in 2015

Port Washington, NY, October 29, 2015 – According to global information company, The NPD Group more consumers will begin their shopping earlier, a higher percentage of shopping will take place online, and more growth will be seen among the top categories purchased compared to last year.

Half of all holiday shoppers plan to start their shopping before Thanksgiving weekend, a 6 percent increase over 2014, according to NPD’s 2015 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey. Regardless of when they begin, most shoppers plan to continue their holiday shopping into December.

Brick-and-mortar will be the channel most used by consumers for shopping this holiday season, but online will continue to steal share. Two-thirds of consumers plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year, a 12 percent increase over 2014. Based on consumer plans, more of their purchases are expected to come from the online channel in 2015, and e-commerce pure-play sites gained the most in terms of planned purchases out of all destinations this year.

“Consumers don’t have a need to seek the deals out on Black Friday the way they did during past holiday seasons. Now the deals come to them, early and often,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “With consumers shopping earlier and more going online it will be critical for brick retailers to take action in order to compete with the click players.”

Top Categories Gain Momentum, Few Gain Dollars

Fashion and entertainment are the top planned super categories for holiday purchases, followed by toys.

Clothing continues to be the leading product category for holiday purchases, with 49 percent of respondents indicating they plan to purchase it this holiday season, up from 44 percent in 2014. However, clothing isn’t the only product category that expects to see a significant boost this year. Food/beverages, books, movies/DVDs, video gaming systems/video games, small personal accessories, and smartphones also have the attention of more consumers this holiday season.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, 2015


An online survey was fielded in September 2015 to members of NPD’s online consumer panel. The survey was fielded to a U.S. representative sample and completed by 3,620 individuals aged 18 and older.

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