NRF: Many Consumers Still Holiday Shopping

As the holiday season heads toward Christmas Day, there appears to be a few consumers who still have some shopping to do.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average holiday shopper has completed 53.5% of their shopping, a number that is nearly even to last year’s figure at the same time. Approximately 10% of holiday shoppers said they are finished— or 22.6 million people— meaning that 90% of holiday shoppers still have gifts, food, décor and/or other holiday items to buy.

For those who have yet to complete their shopping, 44.8% said they are still weighing their choices between gifts. Additionally, 28.8% said they wait until mid to late December because their friends and family haven’t given them enough ideas as to what they want and 22% are waiting for the best deals on holiday merchandise. One in five admit they are simply just a procrastinator.

“While we witnessed an early start to the holiday shopping season and an extraordinary Thanksgiving weekend, some of the busiest shopping days of the year are still to come,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “We expect retailers will be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, including extended store hours and in-store events, as well as online deals and free shipping offers. Even an unseasonably warm winter cannot keep last-minute shoppers from putting off their holiday purchases anymore.”

When asked when they believe they will purchase their last gift, one-third (33.4%) said sometime before December 18, though 10.2% are planning to wait until December 23.

For retailers and consumers alike, the holiday season doesn’t end on December 25, NRF officials said. In fact, for many consumers the week after Christmas is more than just an opportunity to exchange that sweater from grandma. According to the survey, two-thirds (65.9%) of holiday shoppers said they are planning to shop— both browsing and buying— retailers’ after-Christmas sales. Specifically, 47.2% of shoppers said they would shop at a store and 43.1% will shop online that week. Nearly six in 10 Millennials (18-24 year olds) will shop that week, both in stores (59.2%) and online (59.3%).

In addition, mobile devices will also play a bigger role in helping consumers complete their holiday shopping. According to the survey, 35.4% of smartphone owners and 38.2% of tablet owners will use their devices to research products and compare prices. Another 19.8% of smartphone and 26.4% of tablet owners will actually purchase a holiday item with their devices. And 15.8% of smartphone and 16.2% of tablet owners will look up in-store availability of select holiday items.

The holiday consumer spending survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics.