42% of Early Holiday Shoppers Cite Supply Concerns as Key Reason to Shop Early, Reports NPD; Fears of product shortages, and avoiding hectic crowds, are the top reasons holiday shoppers hit the stores early

November 2, 2021 – NPD – A recent survey from The NPD Group reveals that more than four in ten U.S. consumers already purchased holiday gifts by October of this year. Among those early holiday shoppers, 42% said they started their shopping early because of concerns around availability or supply in stores. However, just as many said they made early purchases because they like to get their shopping done before the holidays get hectic.

“The holiday shopping season has changed, but consumer-driven traditions – like taking pleasure in the quest for the perfect gift – will endure even amid pandemic-driven concerns,” said Marshal Cohen,  chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “Consumers will hold on to the core characteristics of holiday shopping that mean the most to them, even if the ways they are achieved need to evolve.”

Across all holiday shoppers, fewer than half do not expect to find a particular holiday gift that they are hoping to purchase this year. Of those consumers anticipating supply issues, many are willing to be flexible. In fact, 43% indicated they were prepared to buy alternative items, if they couldn’t find what they wanted, and another 13% said they would spend more on a product they are looking for when they find it, rather than wait or look for a better price.

In addition to worries about COVID-19 and supply issues, common concerns and consumer retail preferences that often emerge during the holidays are still very relevant this year. These concerns can affect whether holiday shoppers decide to start shopping early or wait until later in the season. October is still too soon for some consumers to start shopping, with a third or more reporting that it doesn’t feel like the holidays yet, or they don’t yet have their gift lists ready. Three in ten consumers simply prefer to shop later in the season because they will be more in the holiday spirit or are waiting for late-season deals.

“Once again, this year’s holiday shopping season will look different than past year’s, in terms of when and how purchases are made, as well as the types of gifts that are given,” Cohen said. “The here-and-now shopping mindset that consumers have adopted through the pandemic will continue to play out during the holidays, so manufacturers and retailers must be prepared to pivot along with shoppers.”  

Read more at NPD.