Fewer consumers plan to shop Super Saturday this year

Marianne Wilson
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More than 148 million Americans plan to shop Super Saturday, which falls on Dec. 18 this year.

Early holiday shopping may be taking a small bite out of one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

More than 148 million consumers plan to shop in-store and online on the last Saturday — Super Saturday — before Christmas this year, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The number is down from last year when 150 million consumers were expected to shop, but it’s up from the 147 million expected shoppers in 2019.

With Super Saturday falling on Dec. 18, exactly one week before Christmas, this year, the number of anticipated shoppers is the third-highest reported since NRF began tracking this figure in 2016. More than a quarter (27%) of consumers plan to shop exclusively in-store on Super Saturday, and 32% plan to shop online only. The majority (41%) expect to use a combination of the two channels.

In addition to online, other top shopping destinations include department stores (34%), discount stores (21%), clothing and accessories stores (20%) and local and small businesses (16%).

Retailer efforts to mitigate the impact of supply chain challenges appear to have paid off, according to the survey. The majority (71%) of holiday shoppers say they have been able to find the items they are looking for most or all of the time. And optimism is high, with two-thirds (67%) indicating they are confident or very confident they will be able to find the gifts and other items needed for the holiday season this year.

As of early December, consumers had completed 52% of their holiday shopping.  But many are still aiming to wrap up their shopping early, with a record 42% planning to purchase their last gift before Dec. 18. This is up from 40% a year ago and 30% in 2012 when NRF first asked this question.

Some procrastinators remain. More than half (52%) expect they will still be picking up last-minute gifts in the week leading up to Christmas. 

The most popular gifts purchased to date include clothing and accessories (44%), toys (30%), books and other media (26%), gift cards (25%) and electronics (20%). Only 23% of holiday shoppers plan to give a “gift of experience” this year.

Sixty-five percent of holiday shoppers plan to shop during the week immediately following Christmas. The top reasons consumers plan to shop during this time are to take advantage of deals and promotions (42%) and to use gift cards (24%).

NRF has forecast that holiday sales will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. Sales could reach as high as 11.5% growth over last year.

[Read More: Holiday sales could beat forecast despite inflation, COVID, says NRF economist]