What type of Christmas shopper are you?
There are several types of Christmas shoppers. In this article we will take a look at four types—the early, average, “last minute” and chronic “last minute. To determine what type of shopper you are; ask yourself the questions below:
- Do I wait until “Black Friday”, (the day after Thanksgiving) to start shopping or have I been shopping throughout the year for gifts?
- Do I need to hear Christmas music or see holiday displays to get me moving?
- Do I have a budget for holiday spending?
- Am I still looking for last minute deals or discounts on Christmas Eve?
- Am I relaxed or frantically looking for gifts a few days before Christmas?
- Have I created my Christmas gifts shopping list?
- Am I a procrastinator, who waits to the very last minute to start shopping?
- Do I take a day off from work to complete my shopping?
- Do I wait a few days before Christmas to place an order for a unique or special item?
- Can I curl up and enjoy a movie, good book or other relaxing activity a week to a few days before Christmas?
The phrase, ‘the early bird catches the worm,’ is possible one way of describing those who start Christmas shopping early. One of the worms in this case is less stress. The early shopper has a plan, a budget and starts shopping just before the holiday season begins or has been shopping sales throughout the year. He/she often has practically all gifts if not all gifts wrapped and under the tree before Christmas. Planning gives them the advantage over the other three types of shoppers. Therefore, they are probably the most relaxed of the four types of holiday shoppers.
The second type is the average shopper. Most of us are average shoppers. Most of us fall into this category. The average shopper waits until the holiday shopping season officially begins, the day after Thanksgiving or Black Friday.
Shopping in September and October is too early and almost unthinkable for the average shopper. Those months only serves as a reminder of the upcoming holiday season. The average shopper has convinced him/herself that there is plenty of time before the official season begins to shop and is in no hurry to start shopping in September or October. This type of shopper may have an idea of what they desire to spend, but usually do not have a written plan or budget. Maybe the average shopper just needs the holiday frenzy—busy store clerks, fully decorated stores, displays, and Christmas music to get them moving
Average Christmas or holiday shoppers are primarily motivated by the sales that occur during the official holiday shopping season. They believe they are purchasing gifts at bargaining prices; however, it is unlikely that retailers will offer the lowest prices during a time that is prime shopping season, though shoppers will find some bargains. A word of advice, before buying an item during the holiday season consider whether the item is fairly priced when compared to the price during other times of the year. Buying items just because they are on sale may cause overspending or create ‘buyers regret’ later.
The third type of holiday or Christmas shopper is the “last minute” shopper. The “last minute” shopper is one who realizes there is less than a week before Christmas and has not bought a single gift. This type of shopper is usually selecting gifts from the “left over” items and hope that the recipient(s) will like the gift they have chosen. “Last minute” Christmas shoppers should be prepared to find items on their own, and should not expect ‘hand-holding help’ from sales clerks. With only a few days before Christmas and many shoppers still trying to get their last minute shopping done; most retailers find it very difficult to have enough staff to offer expert help and assistance to most “last minute” shoppers.
The average and last minute shoppers appear to struggles with procrastination more so than the early holiday shopper. The fourth type of holiday or Christmas shopper is the chronic “last minute” shopper. He/she is often characterized by constant procrastination. This type of shopper finds him/herself in a frenzy and anxious state of mind a couple of days before Christmas. They usually are faced with some type of holiday crisis or crises, for example a desired gift such as a book has to be ordered and won’t be shipped in time for Christmas.
While the chronic “last minute” holiday or Christmas shoppers can find comfort knowing they will likely get the best bargains and the lowest markdowns; the items selection will be considerable less than ideal and some items such as clothing may be a bit worn from all the handling done by many other shoppers.
An advantage that the early and average shoppers has over the “last minute” and “chronic last minute shoppers is the ability to return unwanted items or unwise purchases before the gift exchange.
Some strategies that the average and “last minute” shoppers, can use to get them moving earlier each year and make Christmas shopping successful are:
- Order unusual or hard-to-get items at least two weeks in advance. Most retailers offer shipping in time for Christmas, however, there is still a deadline for guaranteed delivery; for example, the item must be ordered 36-72 hours before Christmas. If items aren’t ordered within that time frame, there is no guarantee that they will arrive in time
- Order as many items as you can online, if you do not have time to shop at a store. With this option you will need to make arrangement for delivery; for example, leave package at a neighbor’s home or pick up from Post Office
- Set aside one or two afternoons or evenings a week to do some shopping.
- Call store and ask what time do most customers come to shop ( days and time during the day)
- Expect to wait. Long lines are a part of the holiday shopping
- Eat before heading out and take a snack with you. There is nothing like a hungry grumpy shopper
With the holiday season a few weeks away, knowing what type of shopper you are; will provide an opportunity for you to develop a plan and find strategies that will help you use time wisely, reduce stress, save money and make those you are giving gifts feel very special.