In you thought Christmas came early last year -- get ready for what could be one of the earliest holiday shopping seasons in retail history.

According to report from Experian Marketing Services, about half of retailers will launch their holiday shopping season before Halloween. Santa decorations and Christmas trees may overwhelm trick-or-treating displays this year in stores that plan to get an earlier-than-ever start on the busiest shopping season of the year.

A survey of 212 major retailers found that 49 percent plan to start their holiday promotions before the end of October. Store are ready to roll out daily deals, online coupons and layaway options, and more than a third of retailers say they will offer free shipping. More promotions will come through email and mobile channels than in years' prior, as shoppers increasingly rely on their smartphones to find the best deals.

"Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it's not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

Last year saw some of the earliest Black Friday sales ever, with many stores opening on Thanksgiving Day and offering around-the-clock shopping leading right up to Christmas Day.

Experian also reports that consumer confidence is at its highest since the economic downturn, and without the worry of the fiscal cliff and presidential election, retailers will see more customers ready to spend this year than in 2012.


Advertisement

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.