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Retailers Prepare For ‘Super Saturday’ Holiday Shoppers

More than 40% of holiday shoppers surveyed expect to finish their holiday gift shopping by today, December 19, but the biggest procrastinators will still be buying gifts through Christmas Eve, according to the annual consumer sentiment survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The survey found that 34% of holiday shoppers purchased their last gift by Tuesday. A total of 44% expected to be done by the end of today, with 24% planning to make their last purchases Saturday or Sunday (December 22 and 23) and 7% saying they will still be shopping on Christmas Eve. And 4% said their final gifts wouldn’t be bought until after Christmas.

The survey found that 56% 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% said they were still deciding what to buy, up from 42% last year. Twenty-seven percent were waiting for family members to share their requests while 26% cited other financial priorities, 25% were too busy with other activities and 22% admitted being procrastinators.

“Having made their lists and checked them twice, holiday shoppers have been out in full force these last few weeks, but many are still waiting to complete their shopping this weekend,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF. “Retailers will use every opportunity to see that shoppers have a great experience in these final few days. Whether looking for competitive prices, festive in-store events or last-minute online shipping deals, retailers are ready to deliver.”

As of December 12, consumers still shopping planned to make their remaining purchases online (51%), at department stores (41%), discount stores (25%), apparel stores (21%), electronics stores (17%), local/small businesses (14%) and grocery stores (13%).

For consumers who miss next week’s Christmas deadline, 50% plan to take advantage of after-Christmas sales in stores, and 45% plan to do the same online. The week immediately following Christmas (December 26 to January 1), is an attractive time for many holiday shoppers. More than half (51% ) said they will shop during that period to take advantage of post-holiday sales, with 27% saying they would do so to use gift cards they receive and 17% to return or exchange unwanted gifts.

The survey, which asked 6,978 consumers about holiday shopping plans, was conducted December 3 to 12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.