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Halloween is over, November is here, so that can only mean one thing – time to get all of your holiday gift shopping done!

Ads and holiday store displays are already beginning to compete for our attention. And there had better be some pretty good coupons and sales on offer this year, because more shoppers say they don’t plan to pay full price for much of anything.

Valassis reports that 91% of “value-seeking consumers” who responded to its recent RedPlum Purse String Survey said they expect to use coupons while holiday shopping. 53% of them said they buy at least half of their gifts with coupons.

Meanwhile, the latest annual Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey found that a majority of shoppers will be willing to shop elsewhere, if their favorite stores don’t offer good deals. 72% of those surveyed said they would be enticed by promotions or coupons to shop somewhere new.

“Retailers must listen to what shoppers want, which is relevant, timely deals,” said Curtis Tingle, Valassis’ chief marketing officer.

Interestingly enough, despite their determination to save, shoppers seem willing to spend more overall. They just want more for their money.

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Accenture found that 44% of shoppers plan to spend more in total on holiday gifts this year. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, each of us will spend 3.3% more than last year, for an average total of $683.90 per person this holiday season.

And much of that shopping is taking place earlier than ever. Forget Black Friday – the deals had better be available the day before. “Thanksgiving, traditionally considered family time, is now increasingly regarded as another opportunity to bargain-hunt,” said Jill Standish, Accenture’s senior managing director of retail.

There’s been something of a backlash in recent years against stores opening on Thanksgiving night. So more retailers are opting to keep their doors closed – but their websites wide open. 72% of the Accenture survey respondents plan to shop online this Thanksgiving Day, up from 60% last year. “With the majority of shoppers planning to do Thanksgiving Day shopping online, retailers may want to review online and offline strategies to engage consumers and drive sales,” Standish said.

In other words, don’t wait til Black Friday to offer the best coupons and the hottest deals – because by then, it could be too late.

One thing shoppers don’t want to do, is spend more than they plan to. But many of us end up doing precisely that. Last year, CouponCabin’s Online Holiday Shopping Habits survey found that more than a third of shoppers end up spending more than they budget for holiday gifts.

And one reason shoppers might end up spending too much? Because “they may not consider coupons,” the CouponCabin survey takers concluded.

So with less than eight shopping weeks to go, start keeping your eyes out for holiday deals. And whatever you do – don’t forget the coupons.

Photo by joannapoe

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