Austin, TX—More than half (56%) of Christmas shoppers surveyed typically have gifts left to purchase that the time Saturday, Dec. 20, “Panic Saturday” rolls around. Also known as Super Saturday because it’s slated to be the biggest shopping day of the season this year.
In the latest edition of RetailMeNot’s Shoppers Trend Report, a profile of the last minute shopper emerges.
For many of these last-minute holiday shoppers, it’s not simply a matter of running to the store to purchase one remaining gift. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Christmas shoppers surveyed admit that they’ve actually waited until the Saturday before Christmas to begin shopping for presents; this is a more common practice for men than women (22% vs. 16%). Additionally, parents surveyed are far more likely than adults without children (70% vs. 49%) to find themselves running to the store to pick up a last-minute gift at least frequently, if not all the time.
“Even if you tend to procrastinate, there’s no reason you should have to spend more money because you have less time to buy gifts,” says Rebekah George, lifestyle contributor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. “Retailers will be offering promotions until the final hour before they close for the holidays, so don’t let desperation get in the way of taking a few minutes to search for a coupon or discount.”
The Waiting Game
Much last-minute shopping is the result of indecision. More than 2 in 5 (43%) consumers who identified themselves as last-minute shoppers have waited until the 11th hour because they didn’t know what to get their intended recipient. Another 30% of self-identified last minute shoppers waited to shop because they received an unexpected gift and felt the need to reciprocate. Financial reasons, such as needing to save up more money (23%) or waiting to see how much cash they have left (22%), are less likely to spur last-minute holiday shopping for these procrastinators.
Forgetfulness also contributes to having to rush to the store before it closes, with more than one-third (37%) of holiday shoppers surveyed forgetting to buy someone a gift and thus needing to shop at the last minute.
Dashing to the Store
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) holiday shoppers surveyed would rather do their last-minute shopping offline than online, which is up from last year*, when only 62% of consumers preferred in-store shopping for last-minute gifts. The shift in preference for in-store shopping could be due to the shipping delays experienced during the 2013 holiday shopping season.
It’s not the winter decorations or holiday music that’s luring consumers to the mall. What in-store holiday shoppers like most about shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer is the ability to see an item in person (71%) and having the desired item in hand as soon as they purchase it (58%). More women than men are in-store shoppers (75% vs. 67%) appreciate being able to see an item in person before purchasing.
Despite potential identity theft concerns around using debit or credit cards, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) consumers who plan to shop this holiday season would be willing to do so at a retailer that has experienced a credit card security breach in the last year. Two-thirds (67%) of these shoppers who are men are willing to make holiday purchases at such retailers, compared to about half (53%) of women.
The RetailMeNot December survey was conducted between November 17 and November 20,among 1,006 U.S. residents ages 18 and over, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.