Columbus, OH - Thanksgiving is a week away, and many are already starting to plan their holiday shopping. Whether you are purchasing gifts in-store or online, BBB encourages consumers to do their research and plan ahead with BBB’s Holiday Helper.
BBB Holiday Helper is a one stop shop with tips and trends for Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. Following Turkey Day is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and #GivingTuesday - are you prepared?
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers say they will spend an average of $967.13 per person during the holidays this year. Compared to 2016, that number is up by 3.4%, meaning that shopping will most likely be busier than years before.
Visit BBB’s Holiday Helper today to get started and stay tuned for more information coming from your BBB throughout the holiday season. If you are already beginning to shop or donate to charitable organizations, here are some tips and trends to keep in mind throughout the next few weeks:
Gift Receipts: Always ask for a gift receipt in case you need to return or exchange the item later.
Warranty Information: Inquire about the store’s return policy before purchasing. Also, be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs and warranties to the person who will use the item.
Research: Read product reviews, check bbb.org for Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices and look for early promotions and “flash sales.”
Mobile Security: With so many shoppers using their mobile devices to research and make purchases, it’s important to have a secure device. Be sure you're using the recently updated version of apps and operating system on the phone. Also, actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera to make sure apps use them appropriately.
Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters looking to steal your info. When in stores or restaurants, avoid using banking or other apps that access sensitive personal information.
Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails received during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on links from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain. Watch for look-alike domains as well.
Interest-Based Advertising: As you browse the web or use your favorite store’s app, you might notice ads personalized to you, sometimes based on your previous web searches. This is called Interest-Based Advertising, which is often signaled by Ad Choices in the corners of ads. If you want to opt out of receiving this type of advertising, download the AppChoices app or visit youradchoices.com.
Back-up Your Data: Have an online backup option in case your device is attacked by hackers. You do not want to lose all your family’s information and memories.
Charity Disclosure: Check out give.org to find BBB Accredited Charities that have fully disclosed information to BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance. Although participation is voluntary, you may want to be cautious of charities that don’t disclose requested information to BBB.
What’s In a Name: Be on the lookout for name similarities. Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds like a more famous charity. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to support. Learn more about charitable giving at give.org.
Give a Guide: Request a free Holiday issue of the BBB Wise Giving Guide to be sent to a friend or family member this giving season! The guide features evaluation results for thousands of charities. Simply email Guide@give.org with “Free Guide” in the subject line, and a name and address of where you’d like the guide to be sent.
Millennials: According to Adobe, every eight out of 10 millennials made purchases over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016.
Thanksgiving weekend sales: $289.19 is the amount individuals spent over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, which is slightly down from 2015’s average of $299.60.
Holiday sales: Holiday retail sales during November and December increased 4 percent from 2015 to 2016 by $658.3 billion.
Top reasons to shop: Top three things that convinced holiday shoppers to make a purchase?
64% said: Free shipping
50% said: Limited-time sale or promotion
33% said: Ability to buy online and pickup in store
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.