Holiday shopping season starts early as people tighten budgets

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– How soon is too soon? For many Americans, now is the time to start holiday shopping. According to a recent survey, the National Retail Federation reports 41 percent of people will begin buying holiday gifts before Halloween.

Indiana shoppers generally reflect the national numbers, said Indiana Retail Council President Grant Monahan.

“People are shopping earlier and earlier and I think they do that for a very simple reason: they’re trying to fit that holiday shopping into the family budget. To do that they’re just spreading those purchases out over a longer period of time,” Monahan said.

Consumers surveyed also said they plan to spend 2 percent less this holiday shopping season than last year.

Monahan said uncertainty about the federal government and the nation’s debt crisis is likely a contributing factor to a lack of consumer confidence.

“I think any time you see uncertainty in government or a lack of cooperation there it has an impact on consumers. I think it concerns shoppers and that shows up at the point of sale,” he said. 

He also said a lot of people will cut back on buying things for themselves while they’re out looking for things for others.

Still, online sales are expected to increase between 13 and 15 percent gift card sales are expected to grow. Plus, people just might not stick to their budgets. The National Retail Federation’s forecasts an increase in retail sales of 3.9 percent over last year.

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