Christmas Creep creates new consumer shopping patterns

news release

Christmas Creep creates new consumer shopping patterns

 Consumers will start searching for sales from mid-December

London, 8 November 2013 – The “Christmas Creep”, or the early arrival of Christmas retail campaigns and pre-Christmas sales has created two very distinct types of Christmas shopper, according to Experian, the global information services company.  This Christmas sees the emergence of ‘The Festive Early Bird’, who is most likely to have Christmas shopping well under way by early December and ‘The Savvy Christmas Saver’, who will still be shopping on Christmas Eve.

James Murray, Digital Insight Manager at Experian Marketing Services, commented, “The Christmas Creep begins earlier and earlier every year with today’s consumers expecting everything about Christmas to arrive early – even the sales – and retailers are responding to this.”

By using its Hitwise competitive intelligence tool to analyse visits to the Shopping & Classifieds category online in the four weeks ending 8 December 2012 and by comparison the four weeks ending 5 January 2013, Experian has identified where each type of shopped is likely to live:

Top Towns for Festive Early Birds  

Festive Early Birds
Festive Early Birds tend to be older, middle aged people or fairly affluent families living in rural areas or the outer suburbs of towns and cities where their high street options are likely to be limited.  For these shoppers guaranteeing delivery of the right gifts is key and they prefer to order early in the season to avoid disappointment. Early shoppers are also time poor parents who require the convenience of online shopping and are looking to finish their shopping as quickly as possible.

Portrait of the Festive Early Bird:

  • Mid 40s to mid 60’s
  • Married
  • Parents - families with children under 15 years old
  • High income families with household incomes over £100k
  • Focus on quality when shopping
  • Likely to shop at Amazon and John Lewis. 

Savvy Christmas Savers
The savvy shoppers in contrast who are leaving their shopping until the last minute tend to be younger and live in more urban areas. The group is made up of a mix of affluent urbanites and students. Less concerned with getting organised for Christmas, these shoppers are prepared to be patient to grab a bargain.

Portrait of the Savvy Christmas Saver:

  • Aged 18-25
  • Single
  • A mix of students and young professionals living in student houses or home sharing, and lower income singles
  • Many on low incomes earning less than £10,000 per year
  • Bargain hunters who look for the cheapest products

By analysing Experian Hitwise search data from 2012, Experian predicts that 14th December 2013 will be the date that these online shoppers in particular start actively searching for “Christmas Sale” offers and expecting to receive discounts from their favourite retailers – two weeks before Boxing Day and still in plenty of time for delivery by Christmas.

James Murray commented: “Consumers that leave their Christmas shopping right up until the last minute used to be badged as disorganised, but the new sales cycle means that in many cases, these are the savvy shoppers that stand to get the best deals on their gifts this Christmas.”

Murray concluded: “The different spending patterns outlined here demonstrate the need for marketers to know their customers and their shopping preferences. To make the most of spending patterns in the run up to the festive season, marketers must ensure that they are reaching their customers through the appropriate channel and at the right price point.”


Stephanie Dobson
Head of PR, Experian Marketing Services

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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About Experian Marketing Services
Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyper connected customers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.

For more information, visit