Half of Consumers Irritated By Early Holiday Promotions

Retailer holiday promotions incite upcoming gift-buying stress
Christmas decorations in a mall

If you find yourself annoyed by the holiday decorations and promotions being rolled out by your favorite retailers so early in the season, you’ve got plenty of company.

A new survey suggests that half of consumers not only notice it, but are also bothered by it.

Coinstar, an operator of coin counting kiosks, surveyed 2,002 adults who give holiday gifts to get their thoughts on the upcoming holiday shopping season. Slightly more than half (51%) of respondents said they are irritated by early retail holiday merchandising, a 15-point increase over the previous year when 36% of respondents felt that way.

One reason for the irritation may be the fear that stress will soon be upon them, as 51% of respondents admitted to experiencing stress about giving the right holiday gift. Women are more likely to worry about buying the right present with 56% admitting to feeling stress compared to 46% of men.

Some would even avoid gift-giving entirely if they had their way. When asked what they would give if there were no obligations or expectations of holiday gifts, 11% said they would give money to charity instead and 10% said they would either give no gifts at all or buy a gift for themselves.

The holiday season also appears to be the time people are most likely to splurge, as 72% of respondents said they spend more money for their loved ones on a holiday gift than on other celebratory occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Most respondents — 67% — said they make a holiday gift budget, and 42% said they expect to spend between $100 and $400 on holiday gifts this year.

The amount a shopper spends on a loved one, however, is not set in stone — at least this far out from the holidays. A sizable percentage of respondents — 38% — admitted that an argument or disagreement with a loved one could have a negative effect on how much they would spend for that person’s gift if they gave a gift at all.

Despite the care some shoppers take in finding the right gift each year, the survey suggests that many gift recipients are less than enthused about what they received. In fact, nearly a third — 31% of respondents — said they didn’t remember what gifts they received last year. Men were more likely to forget last year’s holiday presents with 38% not remembering what they got compared to 25% of women.

Overall, the holiday season is a favorable time for many consumers. Among respondents, 78% said their feelings toward the holidays were happy. More than a third — 35% — said they ‘can’t wait’ to shop for holiday gifts each year. An overwhelming 87% of respondents said they get more joy out of giving gifts than receiving gifts.

Holiday shopping will likely be less stressful if you plan and budget for it. You might also be able to cash in on rewards from your holiday shopping by using certain credit cards. Just make sure you pay off the entire balance at the end of the month. As the holiday shopping season gets closer, also be on the lookout for holiday scams.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.