Shoppers are already preparing for the winter holidays, spending more over a longer period, according to a recent study.
"Consumers are no longer bunching up their holiday spending into two or three pay cycles, so they feel a little bit more freedom," said Brian Hoyt, spokesman for RetailMeNot, a deal website that surveyed more than 1,000 people about their holiday spending.
"The story is that Labor Day has become the new Black Friday," he said.
Shoppers purchasing holiday gifts early are likely to score deals on apparel and toys; those shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales could find deals on electronics, while last-minute shoppers probably will find good buys on stocking stuffers, Hoyt said.
This year, shoppers plan to spend an average of $167 per recipient, according to RetailMeNot's research.
Many holiday gift shoppers often spend more than they planned, however. More than 26 percent of shoppers surveyed went overbudget last year, according to the survey, which was conducted to quantify aspects of retail psychology, including what the company calls "deal envy."
--By Althea Chang
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