RichRelevance Releases 3rd Annual Survey on Holiday Shopping Attitudes & Preferences

New study of 1,000+ US shoppers reveals changing consumer sentiment around Christmas Creep, Thanksgiving store hours, Black Friday & special deals

San Francisco, CA — September 19, 2016 — With more than $626 billion in holiday sales at stake, retailers are changing the way they sell during the holiday season – for example, stocking the shelves with holiday merchandise in early Fall and opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. But these practices raise key questions about what shoppers want, what rubs them the wrong way, how traditional shopping days like Black Friday are evolving, and what retailers like REI gain (or lose) when they reject the trend.

Released today, RichRelevance’s third-annual Holiday Shopping Survey drills into consumer attitudes and preferences around holiday marketing and merchandising to provide new insight into what shoppers want – and when – from omnichannel retail. Key findings include:

Retailers are gaining ground in the Christmas Creep game

Although most Americans are still irritated to see holiday items appear in the store alongside Halloween goodies, attitudes are changing.

  • Six out of 10 Americans (63%) are annoyed or very annoyed when holiday items appear in the store before Halloween – down from 71% in 2014.
  • Over half of Americans surveyed (55%) are annoyed or very annoyed when stores open on Thanksgiving Day – down from 65% in 2014.
  • Many Americans are shopping early: more than 1 in 4 Americans (27%) had already started their holiday shopping by Labor Day.

Goodwill can be gained by bucking the Christmas Creep trend

REI made news last year when it closed stores on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Other retailers such as Nordstrom, Dillard’s and H&M made a point of remaining closed on Thanksgiving.  When asked about these practices:

  • 7 in 10 Americans (73%) said these retailers’ decisions made them like the retailers more.
  • Over half (53%) said they are more likely to shop with retailers who remain closed on Thanksgiving Day.
  • A comparable amount (48%) stated they are more likely to shop with REI as a result of their decision.

Black Friday is losing ground

Black Friday has traditionally marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season, but consumer sentiments and shopping patterns are changing.

  • Only 1 in 10 (11%) Americans feel Black Friday has grown in importance, while 4 in 10 (42%) state Black Friday is less important than it was 5 years ago.
  • 6 out of 10 Americans (58%) state that special deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday do not impact their shopping behavior.
  • However, Cyber Monday is gaining ground with 1 in 3 (33%) of Americans saying Cyber Monday is more important than it was 5 years ago.

Millennials are a bright spot for retailers

The coveted Millennial shopper (age 18- 29) behaves differently than other generations.

  • Younger Millennial shoppers are more tolerant of Christmas Creep. Early holiday merchandise only bothers half of these shoppers (51% vs. 63% of overall respondents).
  • Millennials are also more responsive to deals. 6 out of 10 (60%) say that special deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday encourage them to shop.
  • This digital generation loves Cyber Monday: more than half (52%) think it is more important than it was 5 years ago.


This is the third-annual Holiday Shopping survey conducted by RichRelevance to understand consumer shopping patterns and behaviors. The survey of 1,054 U.S. shoppers was conducted in August 2016. Responses were gathered online over a 2-week period.


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RichRelevance is the global leader in experience personalization, driving digital growth and brand loyalty for more than 200 of the world’s largest B2C and B2B brands and retailers such as Barneys New York, Marks & Spencer, and Office Depot. The company leverages advanced AI technologies to bridge the experience gap between marketing and commerce to help digital marketing leaders stage memorable experiences that speak to individuals – at scale, in real time, and across the customer lifecycle. Headquartered in San Francisco, RichRelevance serves clients in 42 countries from 9 offices around the globe.

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