The legions of Americans who hope to save Thanksgiving from the crassness and commercialism of the rest of the holiday shopping season appear to be losing the battle. A new survey shows that more Americans are becoming cool with the fact that stores are open for business with huge holiday sales and promotions on Thanksgiving Day.
Once reserved as a sacred day for family time, free of the consumerist frenzy that dominates the weeks before Christmas, Thanksgiving has increasingly become a prime day for pumping up sales by retailers such as Kmart, J.C. Penney, and Walmart.
The trend started with stores opening one year at midnight on Thanksgiving night, then 10 p.m. the year after, and 8 p.m. the year after that. As store hours crept deeper and deeper back into the Thanksgiving Day dinner (or even lunch and breakfast) hours, more Americans grew agitated with the sacrilege, promising boycotts of stores that opened (and forced employees to work) on the national holiday.
However, a new survey from RichRelevance.com indicates that the outrage over Thanksgiving shopping hours appears to be fading. In the new poll, over half of Americans (55%) maintain they are still “annoyed” or “very annoyed” when stores are open on Thanksgiving. But this marks a significant decline from 2014, when Thanksgiving Day shopping was emerging as a trendy new thing—and 65% of those polled said the concept made them “annoyed” or “very annoyed.”
The survey also shows that “Christmas Creep”—the annual push by retailers to introduce holiday displays and entice shoppers to do Christmas shopping earlier each year—is also winning over more consumers. Or at least the trend is becoming so commonplace it’s less likely to get people up in arms. Most people are still irked by Christmas Creep, but according to the RichRelevance survey, only 63% of Americans are “annoyed” or “very annoyed” today by the appearance of winter holiday items before Halloween, compared with 71% in 2014.
What’s especially interesting is that while people generally seem to be warming up to the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving, most shoppers simultaneously want to support stores that refuse to open on the holiday. Clearly, the “Save Thanksgiving” campaign still resonates with many Americans: 53% in the RichRelevance survey said they’re more likely to shop at stores that stay closed on Thanksgiving; and 73% said decisions like the one made by REI last year, which was closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, made them like the retailer more.