If you can believe, the holiday shopping season is officially under way and with seasonal decorations appearing in some stores as early as October, we all feel like it starts earlier ever year. Equifax was curious to know just when the holiday season starts and decided to look at four years of data around consumer debt to understand consumer behaviors during the holiday season.
So what did they learn? First, consumers are continuing to focus their shopping around the days before and after Black Friday, although the day after Thanksgiving does continue to be a highly active. In fact, for the past four years, the Sundays before and after Black Friday have seen a fairly consistent 50 percent increase in the opening of retail credit card accounts over an average day in November or December. New retail credit card openings peak on Black Friday, when consumers on the average have continued to open nearly 3 times more retail credit card accounts.
They also found learned that since 2012, on the average, in November and December, furniture stores have been the top issuer of store credit ($851M), followed by department stores ($790M), jewelry ($451M), electronics ($365M) and clothing ($241M).
Gunnar Blix, Equifax Deputy Chief Economist, says that furniture stores tend to have high-value incentives linked to store credit which drive purchases and this likely accounts for their leading position in terms of credit issuance in the retail credit space.
He also points out that even with compelling incentives across all the shopping categories, since 2012 Equifax has been noticing a modest trend toward consumers showing more restraint in credit card usage.
To view an infographic with the full analysis, visit: Black Friday Historical Trends
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