Consumers May Already Be Tired of Holiday Marketing, Poll Shows

By: Adrianne Pasquarelli | Ad Age | Oct 22, 2021

Note to marketers: Watch that Christmas creep.

Despite warnings that people should begin holiday shopping sooner because of supply issues, a majority of consumers don’t want to see festive ads until after Thanksgiving, according to a new Ad Age-Harris Poll.

The poll found that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults, or 68%, agree that holiday marketing should not begin until at least Turkey Day. Yet more than half of those consumers surveyed said they have already seen at least one Christmas or holiday advertisement with more than seven weeks to go until Christmas.

Recent weeks have seen early holiday ads from many brands as marketers try to get ahead of expected inventory shortages due to delivery delays and labor problems. The next two weeks will see even more marketing as it is traditionally the time that big retailers such as Macy’s, Target and Lowe’s debut holiday campaigns, hoping to boost sales for the crucial fourth quarter. Marketers such as Amazon and Home Depot have already released toy lists and holiday promotions around Black Friday.

Many shoppers report that they are already struggling to find everything they want to buy in stock. Since mid-August, 58% of consumers said they have not been able to purchase at least one item because of stocking shortages. More than half of those surveyed, or 54%, said they have faced shipping delays in the last two months.

Yet shortages in supply may not deter demand in what is expected to be another robust holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation, through a survey with Prosper Insights & Analytics, found that consumers plan to spend $997.73 on average on gifts and holiday items this year—a figure on par with 2020 spending yet lower than 2019’s $1,047.83. The NRF released its holiday spending predictions on Oct. 21.

While consumers might mind the early advertising, it’s having some effect at spurring them to shop. Last year, 42% of shoppers began holiday buying before November; this year, 49% report plans to begin before next month. Such consumers are worried about finding electronics, clothes and toys, the NRF found.

This Ad Age-Harris Poll survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ad Age between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18, polling nearly 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 or older.

Read the full story at Ad Age.