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Good Question: Does Shopping Early For The Holidays Save You Money?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - There's a mix of displays in a Minneapolis store front that will likely make you do a double-take: a skeleton and a Christmas tree.

Molly Pool is a seasonal buyer at Patina, the Minnesota-based boutique chain. Pool says there are a select few who treat shopping for the perfect gift as a full-blown hunting trip.

"They're prepared! They're shoppers…I think a lot of people really enjoy that experience of finding the right thing," Pool said.

Consumer price research firm Decide released numbers Monday that may remove some of the mystery for retailers, who are trying to find that "right thing" to sell.

George John, the associate dean and professor of marketing at Carlson School of Management, says our relationship with the internet fuels Decide's data.

"So many of us do our things online now, and trust me, they know everything you do online," John said.

After crunching six years' worth of pricing data, the firm says the best times to go deal hunting often don't mean waiting until Christmas or waiting in the cold all night on Black Friday.

"What you are going to find on something like Black Friday is they are going to deep discount some things to draw you into the store," John said.

However, John says retailers rely on the fact that once you are in their store on Black Friday, you will buy other merchandise at levels that won't sink their profit.

He says Christmas is indeed getting earlier every year.

"They have to find a reason for you to come into the store. If they can convince you it's Christmas season, then 'I've got to do a little shopping!'" he said.

Decide also gave some guidance on when to buy what. The items to get before the holiday season include watches, jewelry, toys, and flat-screen TVs.

But for kitchen appliances, video game systems, and highly prized items like Apple tablet computers - it pays to wait until Black Friday.


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