Washington–Procrastinators and bargain hunters alike are taking their time getting started with their holiday shopping bonanza, possibly to take advantage of deeper discounts over Thanksgiving weekend and late in the season. According to NRF’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 45.6% of holiday shoppers say they haven’t started shopping yet, relatively flat with last years’ 46.2% but the lowest in the survey’s seven-year history.
“Many consumers are going to wait and see how great the promotions will be later this season before making any commitments,” said NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers have reacted to this ‘wait and see’ mentality with fewer October deals and a much quieter entry into November, when we’ll start to see retailers ramp up with offers for exclusive merchandise, deep discounts and unique online savings opportunities.”
24% to Buy Jewelry
The survey found that while slightly fewer people haven’t started shopping yet, 20.6% have finished 10% or less of their shopping, while 12.4% have completed about one-quarter of their lists; 2.2% are saying they can sit back and relax as they have already finished their shopping for friends and family.
Unsurprisingly, apparel, toys and video games will be popular gift items this year. The survey found six in 10 (60.9%) will buy clothing and accessories, 46.3% will buy books, CDs, DVDs and video games, and two in five (42%) will buy toys. Likely having loaded up on wearable technology items and new smartphones throughout the year, slightly fewer people will buy electronic items as gifts (30.7% vs. 33%).
Some people are in for a real treat: 24% of shoppers will buy jewelry for a friend or family member, the highest percent since 2006. Gift cards continue as a favorite for both shoppers and recipients as six in 10 (60%) will buy gift cards, similar to the 59.2% who planned to do so last year. In an October NRF survey, 60% of shoppers also said they’d like to receive gift cards, marking gift cards the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.
Shoppers look for inspiration for gifts from every corner, and with the innovative creation of retailers’ wish lists, many consumers this holiday season will take to the web to point loved ones to specific, perfect gift ideas. The survey found 32.1% say they will look for inspiration on wish lists, up from 28.8% last year. Others will conduct online searches (47.7%), discuss options with family and friends (41.7%), check out advertising circulars (34.3%) and email advertisements (20.1%), and even search Facebook (10.6%).
“Retailers make holiday shoppers’ job easy with so many options to find the perfect gift, and with little room to waste on gifts that don’t make sense, consumers today want to be sure what they buy is used and enjoyed by their loved ones,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “On the hunt for bargains, quality merchandise that is unique and even exclusive, gift givers this holiday season will seek out both practical and indulgent gift items, though being sure not to break the bank.”
When it comes to how shoppers will pay for their gifts, nearly four in 10 (38%) will use their credit card, the most in the survey’s history and up from 28.5% last year; one in five (21.6%) will use cash and 38.4% will use their debit or check card. Just 2.1% will use a check, the lowest in the survey’s history.
When broken down by age group, young adults ages 18 to 24 are the least likely to use credit to pay for gifts at just 17.7%, and 65+ are the most likely to use credit cards at 56%. Nearly half of 18 to 24 year olds (48.9%) plan to use their debit or check card to buy gift items.
About the Survey
The NRF 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Nov. 3-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. www.nrf.com