Does the most wonderful time of the year begin in September?
I must have missed the memo. Sure enough, I was in Macy’s the last week of September listening to “Winter Wonderland” pour out of the retail giant’s speakers and watching kids write letters to Santa. I’ll admit, this did make me think about my upcoming holiday shopping list (Macy’s-1, Hannah-0). As thoughts of what to buy my friends and family began to swirl around in my head I stopped to think: are stores showing us Christmas trees in September to pressure us to buy early in-store versus shopping online?
This may be the case. 72% of adults in the US purchased products and services online, spending an average of $292 over a 3-month period according to a Nielson Online Survey released this month. Online retail is growing 13% year over year, and in 2010, about half of all retail purchases were researched online beforehand (Forrester Online Retail reports). Online retailers are also making things easier than ever for us to ditch the lines and chaos of Black Friday. With Amazon’s “1-click to buy” feature and their new Flow iPhone app – which combines augmented reality and e-commerce – it becomes more convenient for consumers to buy right then and there after researching product reviews.
Last year, I did all of my holiday shopping online. I used multiple Groupons, promo codes, and Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is a Godsend to busy professionals and lazy people alike: 2-day shipping is free, and you can buy everything from kitchen appliances to makeup to groceries.
I won’t step foot in a mall again this year. I”ll create a holiday gift list in a Google Doc, and use Amazon Prime to research, buy and deliver all of my gifts safe, sound, and gift-wrapped.