Holiday Shoppers in L.A. Say They’re Spending Less and Buying Earlier This Year

We’re not really doing ’Black Friday’ in 2020

Amid a year of anxiety over pandemic, the election, and the economy, many are already looking forward to the holiday season for a bit of distraction and joy. Which might explain why this year’s holiday shopping season appears to have started extra early, according to one new study. It also found that, overall, holiday spending is expected to be down sharply compared to 2019.

The survey, conducted by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, looked at trends nationally and among L.A. residents. Researchers found that more than 61 percent of Los Angeles shoppers say they’ll start spending on gifts, decorations, and other holiday expenses before Thanksgiving this year–with 37 percent of respondents saying they actually got started before Halloween. Most of that shopping is being done online, due in large part to concerns about pandemic, but also following a trend toward e-commerce that had been growing steadily for several years.

Black Friday, the hyped-up shopping day after Thanksgiving historically associated with big crowds and door-buster deals, doesn’t seem that attractive to shoppers with everything going on this year. Less than a quarter of L.A. shoppers in the survey said they had any plans to do any special shopping on that day. ‘Cyber Monday’ saw a similar low level of enthusiasm, perhaps because many people have been doing nothing but cyber shopping since March.

An average Angeleno’s total holiday spending, including gifts, decor, travel, and dining, is expected to drop by 17 percent compared to last year, working out to $1,256. That’s a steeper drop than the national average, which Deloitte found was only 7 percent.

Even if the total amount is only down a few hundred dollars, what respondents expect to spend that money on has shifted dramatically. Projected travel spending is down 41 percent; spending on home furnishings and holiday decorations are expected to be up by 12 percent as people make the best of a holiday season at home.

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