Apparently, many of us are trying to avoid the last-minute holiday rush.
Nearly half of consumers in a regional survey say they've already started holiday shopping and expect to make purchases within the first two weeks of November, AAA reported Thursday.
The online survey of households in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee also found that 54 percent planned to spend the same amount on gifts as last year. Just over 35 percent plan to spend less and a mere 11 percent are hiking their budgets from what was a very frugal 2009.
More than 80 percent intend to take their gift lists to discount stores like Target and Walmart, AAA reported.
Even though 60 percent of those polled said they're trying to buy more gifts on sale and research the lowest prices, less than half of them planned to take advantage of Black Friday and less than half planned to shop on Cyber Monday — traditionally the two biggest discount days of the season.
Results were evenly split between those planning to ship packages or not this season, though 19 percent said they weren't sure what they would do yet.
The most popular gift category: gift cards and gift certificates. About 74 percent of shoppers planned to buy gift cards, up from 59 percent a year earlier.