Longer holiday season to help procrastinators

The calendar will help procrastinators take their time in the upcoming Christmas shopping season, according to a consumer psychologist.

It also will be a “mellower” shopping season for everybody, said Kit Yarrow, author of “Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop.” Yarrow is professor emeritus for Golden Gate University, San Francisco.

Shoppers this year will have five weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Having that many weekends before Christmas and having the few days before Christmas be a weekend, I think will make procrastinators worse than ever,” Yarrow said.

But more time will benefit more than just procrastinators.

“Having this many Saturdays will sort of spread it around a little bit more. I think the stores will be a little less crowded than they used to be, and that will make people a little calmer and more rational in their decision making about what they are going to buy for the holidays,” she said.

Compounding that calming trend in the stores will be the continued rise in online shopping, she said.

U.S. consumers are anticipated to do nearly 40 percent of their holiday shopping online, The NPD Group, in New York, reported. That’s up from 33 percent two years ago.

“When there is less crowding in stores, I think people tend to behave a little bit better,” Yarrow said. “They tend to think a little more rationally. They don’t feel quite as panicky when they are shopping. So I think this will in general be a little bit mellower shopping season.”

But not mellower in terms of spending. Surveys forecast a 3- to 4-percent increase in spending for Christmas this year, Yarrow said.



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