More than 40 percent of holiday shoppers surveyed expect to finish their holiday gift shopping by today, Dec. 19, but procrastinators will still buy gifts through Christmas Eve, according to the annual consumer sentiment survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The survey found that 34 percent of holiday shoppers purchased their last gift by Tuesday, Dec. 18. Another 44 percent expect to be done by the end of today, 24 percent plan to make their last purchases Saturday or Sunday, and 7 percent say they will still be shopping on Christmas Eve. And 4 percent said their final gifts wouldn’t be bought until after Christmas.
The survey also found that 56 percent of holiday shoppers—about 134 million people, up from 126 million last year – plan to shop this weekend on “Super Saturday,” the last Saturday before Christmas.
Of consumers who had completed half or less of their shopping, 44 percent said they were still deciding what to buy, up from 42 percent last year. Of these customers, 27 percent were waiting for family members to share their requests, 26 percent cited other financial priorities, 25 percent were too busy with other activities, and 22 percent admitted being procrastinators.
As of December 12, consumers still shopping planned to make their remaining purchases online (51 percent), at department stores (41 percent), discount stores (25 percent), apparel stores (21 percent), electronics stores (17 percent), local/small businesses (14 percent), and grocery stores (13 percent).
“Last-minute shoppers are looking forward to the weekend this year to finalize their shopping plans before the big day,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist says. “They are making sure to research everything from shipping deadlines to the best deals. Some are already looking to the days after Christmas to find treasures in the clearance bins.”
The survey found 53 percent of consumers have already purchased clothing as gifts; 38 percent gift cards; 37 percent toys; 32 percent video games, books, and movies; 24 percent food or candy and 23 percent electronics or computer-related accessories.
For consumers who miss next week’s Christmas deadline, 50 percent plan to take advantage of after-Christmas sales in stores, and 45 percent plan to do the same online.
The week immediately following Christmas (December 26 – January 1), is an attractive time for many holiday shoppers. More than half (51 percent) said they will shop during that period to take advantage of post-holiday sales.