Though the holiday season spans many weeks, it's often the case that consumers do the bulk of their shopping from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. And Deloitte's 2019 pre-Thanksgiving pulse survey reveals that this year is no exception, as 79% of respondents say they plan to do their holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving period.
The amount they're planning to spend, however, may surprise you. The average household will plunk down a substantial $415 during the Thanksgiving shopping period, though that number is a bit higher among millennials and Gen Xers -- $446 and $452, respectively.
Now for many consumers, the rush to shop during this limited period stems from a desire to snag a deal on as many items as possible. Black Friday, for example, often purports to offer up the lowest prices of the year in stores, while Cyber Monday is thought to do the same in an online capacity. But if you're planning to do a bunch of holiday shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, be careful -- the deals may not be as terrific as you expect them to be, and you could wind up hurting your finances in pursuit of a bargain.
Don't rush your shopping
The reason Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be detrimental to shoppers boils down to perception. We're wired to think we'll get a great deal on those days, and so we often convince ourselves to spend money before taking the time to research the items we're buying and see if a lower price exists. The result? Disappointment, and a blow to your finances.
Imagine you're on a limited budget this holiday season, and you have a few items on your gift list you're hoping to snag at the lowest price possible. You might assume you're getting the best deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday when, in reality, those same items could be further discounted prior to or following those high-profile shopping days.
Also, there's a lot of pressure to buy things on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But if you wait a few more weeks to shop, you may find that you either get a better deal, or come to your senses and realize you shouldn't be stretching your budget to buy items you can't comfortably afford (especially when those items are discretionary, and you don't actually need them).
Of course, this isn't to say that there are never deals to be had between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. But if you're going to shop during that time, do a little research beforehand so you know whether you're getting a good deal or not. And also, set an actual budget so you're aware of what you can afford to spend. Maybe that number is $415 -- or maybe it's a lot less. And if you're in the latter boat, the last thing you want to do is rack up a ton of credit card debt in an effort to snag deals that may not even be much to write home about.
Finally, remember that Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to reflect on the things you have going for you in life and spend time with family -- not shop. If you're going to cut your meal short to hit the stores, make sure you're doing so for the right reasons -- and don't be surprised if no one saves you a piece of pie.