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Ready Or Not, Holiday Shopping Has Already Begun

Despite complaints from some quarters (including this one) over holiday creep, more and more consumers seem to be starting their fourth-quarter shopping in Q3.

According to a survey by digital ad services firm Rubicon Project, nearly one-third (29 percent) of U.S. shoppers are already snatching up gifts for the holidays.

The news is especially propitious for the CE industry, as about 40 percent of respondents said they plan on purchasing tech items, with 47 percent citing tablets and 34 percent clamoring for video games.

Moreover, fully half of all U.S. consumers said they plan to splurge on a big-ticket item this year, which will most likely be a consumer electronics device.

 Among other key findings:

*31 percent of shoppers plan to spend more this year than last, with holiday expenditures hitting $1,051 on average;

*75 percent plan to shop online;

*consumers who plan to do most of their shopping online will spend 20 percent more than their in-store counterparts;

*43 percent of shoppers will compare CE options online before making a purchase in-store;

*25 percent will shop on their smartphones; and

*Amazon and Walmart are the top shopping destinations, cited by 69 percent and 59 percent of U.S. respondents, respectively — while Best Buy is the No. 1 venue for Canadian consumers, cited by 42 percent.

“This year, we are seeing a clear shift in when, where, and how consumers are spending their holiday money,” Rubicon senior VP Dallas Lawrence. “Consumers have taken control of the holiday shopping season, starting earlier, and signaling a clear desire to shop online and on mobile devices.”

Rubicon’s early-bird findings were supported by a separate study by, which found that about 32 million Americans have already started their holiday shopping.

The annual Rubicon survey was conducted during the last week of August by polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, which engaged 2,009 U.S., Canadian, and U.K. consumers.