One Third Of Americans Already Done With All Holiday Shopping

Tyler Durden's picture

While everyone was celebrating "record" black Friday sales, we noted that the bulk of this was due to sales channels taking on negative margins, and due to a "cash for clunkers" like effect in which future sales were pulled forward. Sure enough, we now learn that this is precisely the case, after Reuters reports that "more than a third of U.S. shoppers are already done with most of their holiday shopping, a survey showed on Monday, signaling that retailers need to offer bigger incentives to win sales in the few weeks before Christmas... About 32 percent of people surveyed by America's Research Group said they finished a majority of their Christmas shopping in November. Last month included Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when stores pulled out all the stops on discounts to woo shoppers during their biggest season of the year. More than 6 percent completed most of their holiday shopping in the first weekend of December." In other words so much for holiday shopping as a driver of stocks, as there is no way that the remaining two thirds of shoppers can carry the entire season regardless of what massive discounts retailers provide. This is also quite disturbing for US GDP which relies primarily on PCE as a driver to growth (although when that fails retailers can pretend they are stocking up on inventory), and will likely mean that banks which most recently (as of a week ago), had an upgrade round to Q4 GDP will be forced to promptly cut it back down. Lastly, as Rosenberg noted yesterday, once the bills come in January, that's when the wheels will really come off, just in time for the non-extension in the payroll tax.


About 28 percent of people surveyed said they plan to take a break from shopping, now that the Black Friday weekend is behind them.


"Many, many consumers, when they got those early bird specials on Black Friday, decided that that was going to be the big purchase for their family," Beemer said, adding that many shoppers spent more than they planned on Black Friday.


Sales during the Black Friday weekend soared to $52.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, which sees sales for the full season up 2.8 percent.


The survey also highlighted other grievances of the post-recession U.S. consumer.


More than 43 percent of those surveyed said they expect the debt crisis in Europe to hurt the United States, while about 36 percent of Americans said political gridlock in Washington as the biggest problem facing the U.S. economy right now.


About 27 percent worry about the rising cost of living, while about a quarter of those surveyed see unemployment as the key issue faced by the U.S. economy.


Many shoppers said that discount chains would be their destination of choice to do the rest of the holiday shopping, with nearly 38 percent of holiday shoppers planning to visit one, highlighting that shoppers remain highly price-sensitive.


"You have got to give them a deal that is incredible," Beemer said, suggesting retailers slash prices and offer deep discounts of 50 percent and 60 percent to lure shoppers this month.

Once the news trickles out, expect several hours of propaganda on bubblevision how soaring volumes (which are about to plunge) more than make up for negative margins. After all, nobody in the US (or Europe apparently) is good at math.

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Irish66's picture

No wonder China is preparing for combat

Oh regional Indian's picture

I suppose Loss Leaders is going to take on a whole new connotation, in many divers aspects.

On-line, last hope for the system, because you cannot literally hypnotize people into stores, but on line? 

Subliminal Advertising rulez! seriously. Google it.



Irish66's picture

the days when grocery stores played music to get you to buy more food.

2 years of studying the art of subliminal advertising

Popo's picture

Sigh.   Come on Zerohedge.   You've already got our attention.   No need to practice such piss-poor journalism today:

"32% of Americans finished the majority of their Xmas shopping",  is not the same as "One Third Of Americans Already Done With All Holiday Shopping".

In fact -- they are EXTREMELY different stats.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Popo, your dogged pursuit of journalistic integrity is quite something to behold. Over and over.



Popo's picture

It's frustrating because I hold this site in the highest regard.   ZH leads not only the blogosphere, but the entire global media in reporting on the fraud-factories otherwise known as banks,  and chronicling the slow-motion collapse of our economic system.

And then for whatever reason, Tyler occasionally sees fit to ruin all that amazing work by tossing out sensationalistic,  factually incorrect pieces which drag down the general quality level of the site...  

There's really no reason for it.

Stax Edwards's picture

You just have to laugh at a lot of it.  It places such an uber bearish spin on everything to the point that even some of the most innocuous data is spun as not only earth shattering but panic worthy.  

I believe the reason is that it sells newspapers.  TD did a story about MBIA or Assured Guaranty the other day with a bullish bias and it seemed very few even bothered to read it, certainly the comment section was cricket worthy.  I for one welcome the insight for long ideas, and hope TD posts more of that stuff.  The large contingent of malcontents on the site are metaphorically like nascar fans waiting for the big one.  

Edit: I have not started my shopping yet BTW.  Hopefully this weekend!

flattrader's picture

>>>And then for whatever reason, Tyler occasionally sees fit to ruin all that amazing work by tossing out sensationalistic,  factually incorrect pieces which drag down the general quality level of the site...  

There's really no reason for it.<<<

It's called "click-bait."

I want more "chart porn."

RockyRacoon's picture

Go back and look at just about ANY article that covers some aspect or action of the Obama administration and gauge the contempt for the poor fella in the titles alone.   I like objectivity as well, but it's not always to be found here at ZH.  Actually, it's a good thing.  With blatant bias it's easier to measure the credibility of the article itself.   Bias in the title certainly presages the same in the articles.   Take it all with the proverbial grain (or block) of salt.  Parsing fact from opinion keeps the mind sharp.

TruthInSunshine's picture

It's my free opinion (treat it thusly) that there are frequent (but inconsequential in terms of substantive impact) grammatical mistakes on Zero Hedge because the flow of articles and the very fast flow of information that is updated so regularly is far greater than any other widely read site that I can think of, and any editors would have a difficult time correcting for grammatical mistakes given that rapid flow.


SteveNYC's picture

SteveNYC Christmas shopping completed (to date) = $0

Anticipated SteveNYC Christmas shopping 6DEC - 25DEC = $0


We are the 32%! /sarc

cowdiddly's picture

Anticipated  2012 cowdiddly buys of anything made by a stinkin corporation 0$ (Like CPI the number excludes food, Ins. and energy)

We will see Who is they call 1 percent. You started the war................

writingsonthewall's picture

Steve man - no present for me?


Come on dude - I've got you one

SteveNYC's picture

Aaaaawwwwww, shucks! You shouldn't have! Ok, off to Macys I go this weekend........


Abiotic Oil's picture

I heard from Newt Grinchrich that in NYC Tiffanys is the place to shop.  Very easy to obtain a $1million+ line of credit.

SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

does it count as being done if you never started shopping?

RockyRacoon's picture

I buy my Christmas presents in January -- for the next coming holiday season.   Go to the huge sales of overstocked crap that has been put in aisle bins for the best bargains.   Throw the stuff in a closet and do the gift wrapping after the next Thanksgiving.  Puts ya right in the holiday mood!   You can get stuff for 10 to 20% of the Black Friday prices that happened 2 months before.

Ruffcut's picture

I've been done since sept. I bought all the family shares of MF global.

Gifts are for children. The rest is all complete bullshit. Adults making christmas lists. Be enabled why don't ya. A stocking filled with lead does sound interesting, though.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

Thanks for the deep, deep discounts (at a loss)

Mr. Lucky's picture

This is going to one bad winter for retail.  No profits; lots of returns; no future customers; and lots of overhead.

Iwanttoknow's picture

However,MSM will report a happy retail season.

amarshall's picture

Completely done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. Zero purchases on Black Friday.

dhengineer's picture

The only stuff I bought on Black Friday was hydraulic cement to patch some basement floor leaks, spray foam to close off the drafts in the attic, and a few sacks of wood fuel for the pellet stove.   Just getting ready for the season up here in Upstate New York.  Oh, and then we had lunch in our local diner.  Christmas presents?  Nada.

The Deleuzian's picture

Whatever Holiday sales #'s are released will be managed...Always above expectations and always a few % above last year...Why would you think this year would be different...Bloomberg analyst telling shopping tales of Xmas 'decorations' and long lines at HD stronger than last year...It never ends...

Milton Waddams's picture

I get the holiday spirit thing, that it can be leveraged for a good lay or two, or to catch up with family, or whatever... but this shopping thing... mass delusion ... holidaze... transferring money amongst ourselves but kicking 30%+ of it back to the retail sector for the privilege.  Treasury is selling bags of shredded money.. makes a great gift.

Stax Edwards's picture

Funny you should mention that.  Shredded money is actually free at the FED in little sealed bags. I picked some up last time I was up in Atlanta. You can have as many as you want, no charge.  They are available in the museum which is free also.  We got them to give to neices and nephews for their stockings.  Little kids find that pretty cool!

flattrader's picture


I wonder what the insulating R value of that crap is?

Anybody know?

This could be a way for fedgov to do some good.

Distribute free bags of shredded money for insulation to Americans who can no longer afford heat because they shredded the value of the currency.

Gotta love irony.

Sorry.  That should have read FEDfedgov.

Esso's picture

The R value is probably close to that of blown in celluose, but why not add in some Elmer's Glue-All and press it into cardboard boxes for the homeless to live in?

"Ha! my cardboard house is worth three million dollars!"

shutdown's picture

I'm done with all of it. 

Josh Randall's picture

Of course, It doesn't take long when you have no friends...

Sorry you walked into that one

Ratscam's picture

maybe he does not need to bribe them for attention ...

Gully Foyle's picture


"maybe he does not need to bribe them for attention ..."

Someone is single

Ratscam's picture

I didn't even start and will not so until the next discount round in January.

Inflation for necessities - deflation for shit you don't need.

Nothing real here's picture

While the markeet celebrates the HOPE of ECB printing, the S&P companies are losing sales in Euroland, the American consumer is turning cautious (uncertain of the payroll tax extension), and China is coming down hard. 

Reality returns after Christmas, if not Friday.



Shizzmoney's picture

A key sector to look at is videogames (televisions will probably be one of the retail numbers that is fudged).

If videogame companies, and stores like GameStop see a slowdown in sales, then you REALLY know the shit is starting to hit the fan. 

What else does one do when they are unemployed?

Gully Foyle's picture


"What else does one do when they are unemployed?"


Watch soaps

Masturbate to soaps

Masturbate some more

Willzyx's picture

I sleep till 2pm and miss most of the soaps

Mr. Magniloquent's picture

I would have imagined Zipods missed them because most companies do not broadcast to the Moon.

GIANTKILR's picture

Starve the Beast! If you do have to shop, buy everything online and out of state, so no sales tax. Also, look for free shipping deals.

Gully Foyle's picture


"buy everything online and out of state, so no sales tax."

Someone isn't living in 2011.


flattrader's picture

Did better than that yesterday.

I am making a musical instrument strap for an unusual instrument.  The cheapest I could find on line was $19.95 + 4.95 shipping...what bullshit.

After looking at the design it became apparent all I needed was 2 sets of suspenders.

Three thrift stores later...2 sets of suspenders, new pillow, new shoes, new coat, new merino wool sweater, new leather wallet that had $5 in it.

(And when I say "new" I mean half the items still had tags on them, other half had no visible signs of wear.)

Total less than the $25 dollars to order the instrument strap...probably made in china.  Less than $20 counting the $5 bucks gratis.

Clam McCain's picture

credit cards and dreams - thats all you need in life


Gully Foyle's picture

Clam McCain

I would say having a Penis is a plus in life. There is always something to play with when you are bored.

I am Jobe's picture

Comeon the sheeples are still wanting crap which they define their life's with which is of no use. Got to go, Macy's is having a sale andso is Kohl's. Got to suuport the SQUID Empire.


midgetrannyporn's picture

Cash is the greatest gift of all, especially for those who might be hurting.

death_to_fed_tyranny's picture

As I work in a major retail electronics store, I can tell you first hand that sales have been lethargic. We push the credit card hard for every sheep that enters the store. The store is packed to the brim with cheap chinese crap that is piling up with each truck that comes in to resupply stock. There is no reason to resupply. Merry Fucking Christmas Motherfuckers!

sabra1's picture

considering the amount of waffle makers sold, i'm going long 3X waffle ETF's!