Holiday Shopping Interview with KFNN Radio Phoenix

By Media Relations Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Friday, September 18, 2015 with Ken Morgan and Julie Dougherty of KFNN Radio Phoenix about the September 2015 Holiday Shopping survey. The interview and transcript are below.


Ken Morgan: Joining us now is Matt Schulz. Matt is Senior Industry Analyst at Matt, good morning and welcome.

Matt Schulz: Good morning.

Morgan: Here it is, the 18th day of September, and you’re going to tell us that people are shopping for the holidays already? And not just a small number of them either!

Schulz: Yeah, it was pretty shocking. We did a survey over Labor Day weekend and asked people if they had started their holiday shopping and 14% of people said they already had. So that means about 32 million American adults started shopping for the holidays before a lot of their kids even went back to school.

Morgan: Now I have to assume we’re talking about Hanukkah and Christmas. We’re not talking about Halloween and things like that, right?

Schulz: Right, right, right.

Morgan: Ok so – 14% have already started their shopping. Is this way different than past surveys you’ve done?

Schulz: This is the first time we’ve done this survey, but I think that we’ve seen over the last couple of years an active movement by retailers to try and get people thinking about this stuff earlier. Because there was a lot written about Black Friday-type sales being held earlier in November last year. Then we had Amazon Prime Day in the summer. And then we just had this Star Wars Day when all these toys came out related to the new movie. And I think that a lot of that has just gotten people thinking about, “Oh maybe I should start my shopping a little bit earlier.

Julie Dougherty: Could it be that they’re becoming more financially responsible and they know that they need to spread out their spending instead of hitting it all in December?

Schulz: It’s entirely possible. And that is really the biggest positive of starting early because you can plan a little bit more, you’re not under a lot of pressure to buy the first thing you see, and you can take advantage of things like layaway to where you wouldn’t even need to use a credit card to make a big purchase.

Morgan: You mentioned Star Wars. I think that’s going to be really big this holiday season and not just with kids, but adults as well. But you’ve broken it down into various categories, including those with and without children.

Schulz: Yeah, we found that parents are about twice as likely as those without kids to have started holiday shopping already. And as someone with a little boy I can tell you that didn’t surprise me all that much because the lists are a little longer if you’re a parent.

Morgan: Your boy isn’t listening apparently. What does your boy want for the holidays? What kind of present?

Schulz: My boy is crazy for soccer so anything with a soccer ball on it he’s going to be good with.

Morgan: You also broke it down by ethnicity and this is quite interesting as well.

Schulz: Yeah, what we found was that whites were almost twice as likely as non-whites to have begun holiday shopping. And I don’t know that I have a good explanation for that, but another piece of data that we saw was that folks who do most of their shopping online were also more likely to have started shopping.

Morgan: Now Matt I know someone who told me that he and his wife finished their holiday shopping in January. These people are ill in some way, but did you find people actually doing that or that kind of thing?

Schulz: Well, it’s interesting. What we found is that about 2% of all consumers, added up to about five million people, said that they had already finished their holiday shopping when we did this survey.

Morgan: On Labor Day?

Schulz: Yeah on Labor Day and that includes about 7% of those 65 and older. The number drops to about 1% or less if you’re younger than 65, but it was certainly interesting to see.

Morgan: Ok, one final thing from your information here. You said about 14% have already started. When do they plan to finish?

Schulz: What we found is that a lot of people, about one-fourth of people plan to finish shopping by the end of November. And it was interesting because the less money that you make the more likely you are to aim to finish your shopping early and as we said earlier that’s a good thing.

Morgan: Yeah, that is a good thing and retailers can use this information certainly to adjust their sales and when they’re going to have special offers and things like that. I think it would be very helpful for them to know this.

Schulz: Yeah because after all you hear a lot of complaints about holiday decorations going into stores earlier and earlier, but the reality is that a lot of people are thinking about holiday shopping long before the first Christmas tree ever gets into the store.

Morgan: Well, let me tell you this, Matt – in the last week or so I have seen two houses decorated for Christmas already.

Schulz: Wow.

Morgan: Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst at Interesting stuff. Thank you very much for being with us.

Schulz: Thank you.

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