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Americans Making Good Progress on Holiday Shopping Lists

For Immediate Release
Shari Brown or Kathy Grannis (855) NRF-PRESS

View the complete survey

Americans Making Good Progress on Holiday Shopping Lists
- Average Consumer Has Completed Nearly 57% of Shopping By Now-

Washington, December 13, 2012 – Hot holiday promotions and a propensity to shop early and often has put American holiday shoppers in a much better place in terms of the amount of shopping they need to cram in these final days. According to NRF’s latest holiday survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person has completed 56.5 percent of their shopping, up from the 46.5 percent this time last year and the highest percentage in the survey’s 10-year history. Still, just 11.3 percent of Americans say they have completely wrapped up their lists, leaving much shopping left to be done.

“Having made a list and checked it twice, holiday shoppers have been out in full force these last few weeks, leaving only a few stones unturned,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “There’s no question that holiday shoppers wanted to make the most out of retailers’ promotions as early as they could, but as personal schedules get even busier these days, we know there are plenty of people who haven’t even made a dent in their list yet. As two of the most important weeks of the holiday season, retailers will do their best to pull in those final dollars with unique offerings and creative promotions.”

Consumers Have Stocked Up on Apparel, Toys, Gift Cards So Far

The survey found so far this season consumers have stocked up on a plethora of gifts for their loved ones, and themselves. More than half (53.1%) say they have already bought apparel this year, up from 44.2 percent at this time last year, and four in 10 (41.9%) have bought toys, up from 36.3% last year. Books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games have also been popular with shoppers: 42.9 percent have bought these items, up from 38.7 percent last year. Additionally, holiday shoppers have filled their baskets with electronics (28.3%), sporting goods or leisure items (14.6%), jewelry (20.8%) and personal care or beauty items (21.8%). As expected, gift cards have been extremely popular with gift buyers: four in 10 (39.2%) say they have already bought gift cards, the most NRF has seen at this point in the holiday season.

The usual suspects will see the remnants of holiday shoppers over the next two weeks. More than one-third (34.6%) will wrap up their shopping lists at discount stores and 44.5 percent will head to their favorite department store. Others will shop at electronics stores (23.3%), clothing and accessory stores (23.2%), grocery stores (13.5%) and outlet stores (12.5%). Aiming to make the shipping deadlines, 45.5 percent say they will finalize their shopping online.

When asked which day they would purchase their last holiday gift, many of those who aren’t finished shopping plan to wrap up earlier than Tuesday, December 18 (29.8%). Ten percent (10.2%) will wait until the very last minute to buy their final gift items on Monday, December 24. Perhaps not tied to any family commitment on Christmas Day or looking for next year’s accessories and gifts, 4.1 percent say they will actually shop for their last item after Tuesday, December 26.

“Last-minute shoppers are looking forward to the four-day weekend this year to finalize their shopping plans before the big day, making sure to research everything from shipping deadlines to the best deals on apparel, jewelry and electronics,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. “Budget-conscious consumers have taken advantage of retailers’ deals all season long, even after a strong showing Thanksgiving weekend, and could even look to the days after Christmas to find treasures in the clearance bins or new spring items that arrive that week.”

Economy Still Impacting Shoppers’ Spending Plans

Even with less than two weeks until the big day, many people say the economy will impact their spending plans as they wrap up what’s left of their shopping lists. According to the survey, nearly half of those polled (47.8%) say the state of the U.S. economy will affect their spending plans. Of those impacted, many will shop for sales more often (46.9%) and comparative shop online more often (36.7%). Eight percent (8.8%) say they are using layaway to this holiday season because of the state of the economy.

Online Shopping On Christmas Day Doubles Since 2009; Tablets Continue to Drive Sales

When asked which activities they plan to do on Christmas Day specifically, the number of people who say they will shop online has nearly doubled since 2009: 8.2 percent will shop online, compared to the 4.9 percent who said so four years ago. Other activities include browsing the web (26.5%), going to a restaurant (7.1%) and shopping in a store (3.8%).

This year, 61.8 percent of those who own tablets say they will use their tablet to browse products, compare prices and purchase items over the next few days. Specifically, 30.3 percent will purchase gifts and 16.8 percent will use apps to compare prices. Smartphone owners will use their handhelds too: more than half (51.7%) will use their smartphone to research items, compare prices and purchase gifts over the next week and a half.

About the Survey

The NRF 2013 holiday consumer spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 8,333 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGinsight, December 4-10, 2012. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGinsight delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, BIGinsight represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.BIGinsight.com

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com