Some 73% of shoppers want the calendar to reach December before festive music plays in stores, a survey says.
The survey of just over 2,000 people in October found that 61% of shoppers who heard Christmas tunes were not prompted to start buying gifts.
When music starts, Bing Crosby's White Christmas is the most popular tune.
Mood Media Corporation, which supplies in-store entertainment and commissioned the survey, said a good atmosphere was vital to keeping customers in a store.
The poll, conducted towards the end of October, questioned various age groups about their attitudes. It found that, among those aged 18-44, 74% enjoyed hearing music in stores - but not necessarily the Christmas favourites.
"The message is clear for retailers looking for ways to keep shoppers in-store for longer. Instead of using festive tunes just because the Christmas shopping season is about to begin, they can tailor their in-store music to the tastes of their particular customer demographic," said Vanessa Walmsley, of Mood Media Corporation.
"If customers actually like the tracks played in stores, they will stay longer and the chances of making a sale increases."
One way of avoiding in-store music entirely is by shopping online.
Figures to be released on Friday through the IMRG Capgemini online shopping index are expected to show that gift buying picked up sharply in October as the internet shopper started buying Christmas presents.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK retail sales rose by 0.5% in October compared with September, ending two months of declines.