If you're the type of person who avoids crowds, you're probably not preparing for next week's holiday shopping extravaganzas. But you'll probably have more stay-at-home company this year.
A new report suggests that many consumers may be over the idea of buying gifts during the insanity of Black Friday and even the online rush of Cyber Monday -- or now, Thanksgiving Day itself -- due to some shopping trends that began in the recession.
A phone survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S. conducted by Bankrate.com found that most of them won't be shopping during holiday shopping season launch events this year. The financial research firm says only 40 percent of those surveyed plan to do some holiday shopping on Black Friday; of that number, only 28 percent expect to actually shop in a store.
Bankrate credit card analyst Jeanine Skowronski said many American consumers have been discouraged by the scenes they've seen in the media of the rowdy and sometimes dangerous crowds of overly enthusiastic Black Friday shoppers.
"Black Friday, I think, has a pretty bad rep now," she told CBS MoneyWatch. "People see the horror stories, they see the long lines. The casual Black Friday shopper of yesteryear is reluctant to go and brave that, largely because they don't have to."
What's happening now, Skowronski said, is that consumers have many more options when it comes to holiday season deals and discounts. This change, she said, began right after the recession, when retailers were looking for ways to lure cash-strapped consumers back into their stores or to their websites.
"That kind of started this trend of a longer holiday shopping season, better deals more often, record price matching, etc.," Skowronski noted. "And that really conditioned consumers now to look for that. So they might not be penny-pinching or ... stingy, but they know that if one retailer is not going to offer them (deals), another one probably will."
That's why so many retailers, especially the big-box stores that many people think of when it comes to holiday deals, are constantly trying out new gimmicks and discounts. And for the sake of shoppers' convenience, those retailers have also extended the holiday shopping season so much that at a lot of stores, the big push starts right after Halloween.
The Bankrate report also noted that only one in four Americans expect to make an online purchase on Cyber Monday. According to Skowronski, that's probably because the concept of Cyber Monday has become outmoded.
"Originally the idea was people would go into work on Monday -- and that's when they would have access to a computer, and so they would go and they would shop," she said. "But now you can comparison-shop on your smartphone all day long, while you're in transit, while you're sitting on your couch. You don't need to jump online at that point in time to do comparison shopping to get the best prices."
Does this mean the end of the holiday shopping season as we know it? Not necessarily.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) has predicted that America's economic recovery will add momentum to this year's holiday shopping. According to the NRF forecast, sales in November and December should increase by 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, or up more than 3 percent compared with the same time period last year.
And a new survey by Coldwell Banker Commercial, a real estate brokerage, found that a majority of Americans still enjoy and prefer the experience of shopping in a store or mall.
Surprisingly, nearly three out of every four Millennials surveyed -- the 18- to 34-year-olds that are known for being tech-savvy -- say they like in-person shopping, especially with others, and prefer to make purchases in a store.
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