Sluggish Start To Holiday Shopping Season

Special Report: Holiday Shopping Tricks

Isaac Dabah 1 and runs through Christmas. Shay said that some of the holiday sales started right after Halloween this year. Related: Thanksgiving openings are the new normal The NRF estimated that 141 million Americans did some sort of shopping during the four-day weekend, up just 1.2% from a year ago. It based that on a survey of more than 4,000 shoppers. But much of that gain came from online sales. The trade group reported that spending at brick and mortar stores fell nearly 9%.

The music that is playing is also is for sensory perception so that you're really feeling comfortable and it's warm and it's inviting and the longer you're there the greater the opportunity for you to spend more money and fill up that basket," said David Jones of Lenoir Rhyne University. Research shows fiddling with prices and faking popularity generally nudges people to buy more too. "The bottom line is if you don't know what it cost yesterday it may just be a mind game," said Jones. It's product placement that Davis says usually fools us all. "A lot of times the bargain items will be things you have to crawl around for on the bottom shelf and there's a lot of us that aren't going to bend down to look for it so we pay full price," said Jones. The Better Business Bureau says it's also important to compare prices with other stores.

Holiday shopping spree not for everyone

That didn't sit well with some shoppers who viewed it as an encroachment on family time. Some threatened to boycott stores that opened on the holiday, while others decided to forgo shopping altogether. In a poll of 6,200 shoppers conducted for the retail federation prior to the start of the season, 38% didn't plan to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, up from 34.8% the year before. Ruth Kleinman, 30, isn't planning to shop the entire season in part because she's disheartened by the holiday openings. The New Yorker says the holiday season "has really disintegrated." While some shoppers didn't approve, analysts say stores will need to open on the holiday to appeal to the masses.