Super Saturday (December 21) continues to be the biggest shopping day of the year with an estimated 147.8 million U.S. consumers expected to participate, up from 134.3 million last year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“While many people started holiday shopping early, those who waited until Thanksgiving weekend are feeling the pressure due to the limited number of days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “But there is still time to catch up. The last Saturday before Christmas has become the biggest shopping day of the year, and we expect an impressive turnout by procrastinators and those who just want to take advantage of really good deals.”
The number of people shopping on Super Saturday includes both in-store and online activity. The number compares with the 189.6 million unique shoppers over the full five-day Thanksgiving weekend.
As of early December, 86% of holiday consumers had started shopping and they had completed 52% of their purchasing for the season. Last year at the same point, 88% of consumers had started and had completed 58% of their holiday purchases on average.
For those who had at least half of their shopping left, 41% were still deciding what to buy, 28% were waiting for family and friends to tell them what they wanted, and 26% were holding off for the best deals.
More than half (56%) of holiday shoppers plan to purchase their last gift during the week before Christmas, and 62% are expected to shop on Super Saturday.
Shopping does not end with Christmas. The survey also found that 68% of holiday consumers will likely shop the week after Christmas (December 26 through January 1). They plan to take advantage of post-holiday sales and promotions (49%) and use gift cards (27%). Younger consumers ages 18-24 are the most likely (84%) to shop the week after Christmas.
More than half of shoppers (55%) say they will return or exchange any unwanted gifts or holiday items within the first month after receiving them. The vast majority (80%) prefer to make returns and exchanges in stores, and 74% say they are likely to purchase something else while returning or exchanging an unwanted gift.
The survey of 7,779 adult consumers was conducted November 27 through December 5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.