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Shoppers in Utah and elsewhere getting in the buying mood

Published November 13, 2013 7:25 pm

Survey • Most consumers say they want to wrap up their gift buying before Dec. 16.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's probably all too obvious that even though many holiday Christmas lights have yet to be turned on, retailers can't wait for the shopping season to begin.

Whether it's Salt Lake City's Modern Display already having hosted a special holiday decoration night or aisles of local markets or giant chain stores filled with seasonal candy and decorations, many shoppers aren't waiting for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday to begin preparing for Christmas.

That fact was recently confirmed by a survey done for the International Council of Shopping Centers by the Opinion Research Corporation.

The ICSC was founded in 1957 and bills itself as the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. It has more than 60,000 members in over 90 countries.

The study of 1,021 adults conducted Oct. 17 through 20 showed that the top shopping day of the year is still expected to be Black Friday, but Cyber Monday will follow close behind across most demographic groups and will overtake the Saturday after Thanksgiving as the second busiest holiday shopping day of the year.

Consumers seem to want to get an early start this year with 62 percent planning on finishing their gift buying before Dec. 16. Since the ICSC says many stores will accommodate this trend, consumers should probably plan ahead when making some of their biggest purchases.

The survey said that toys and games head the list of hot gift items this year followed closely by consumer electronics. Gifts receiving the most specific mentions include smart phones, tablets, game consoles, digital cameras and televisions.

The group said that online shoppers should be aware of their state's remittance policies, save all receipts from online purchases and be sure to calculate and remit the taxes at the appropriate time.

The ICSC is lobbying Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness legislation.

Supporters say the Marketplace Fairness Act would grant states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers, no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction as local retailers are already required to do.

Other findings of the survey included:

37 percent of women list "seasonal discounts" as their top motivating factor, while only 20 percent cite gift practicality. Men were more evenly divided between seasonal discounts and gift practicality as the driving factor influencing their holiday shopping.

Men are more likely to shop for consumer electronics this year, while women intend to buy games and toys.

Respondents ages 18 to 34 are significantly more likely to shop for consumer electronics this holiday season than any other age group surveyed.

Approximately one-third of respondents from households with a combined annual income of $100,000 or more are expected to shop on Cyber Monday instead of Black Friday. The opposite is true for respondents from households with a combined annual income of less than $35,000.

Respondents from lower-income households are more driven to find the perfect gift for their loved ones this year, with 40 percent of respondents in the $35,000-and-under income category saying that "finding the perfect gift" is the factor most likely to influence their holiday shopping.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton