Only about half of Americans were done with their gift buying as of earlier in the week, setting the stage for final shopping frenzy to include an expected big turnout at stores for today's Super Saturday discounts and promotions, the National Retail Federation says.
The last Saturday before Christmas is increasingly becoming known as Super Saturday within the retail industry. It ranks as the second busiest shopping day of the season after the Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving.
Across the country, 134 million shoppers are expected to visit stores today, according to the latest consumer sentiment surveys by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
A survey earlier in December found that 43 percent of respondents did not expect to finish their shopping until the four-day period that began Friday and ends on Christmas Eve. Fifteen percent did not expect to finish until Sunday or Monday.
An updated survey from last week sheds light on the reasons shoppers wait.
Of consumers who had completed half or less of their shopping as of last week:
• 44 percent still were deciding what to buy, up from 42 percent last year.
• 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.
• 22 percent admitted being procrastinators.
“Last-minute shoppers are looking forward to the weekend this year to finalize their shopping plans before the big day,” Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategyy for Prosper Insights, said in a statement.
“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.”
Of shoppers who already had purchased some gifts, 53 percent purchased clothing; 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.
Gifts such as a cooking class, spa treatment, membership for a wine club or tickets to a sporting event have continued to be popular with 39 percent of consumers hoping to receive an experience gift and 23 percent planning to give one.
When asked about receiving gift cards this holiday season, 42 percent of people surveyed said they would wait for a good sale to maximize the value of the cards, and an equal split of consumers (20 percent) said they would use them as quickly as possible or save them for a rainy day.
Fifty percent plan to take advantage of after-Christmas sales in stores and 45 percent plan to do the same online.
The week following Christmas 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 with 27 percent saying they would do so to use gift cards they receive and 17 percent to return or exchange unwanted gifts.