Consumers still have plenty of holiday shopping to do.
An estimated 147.8 million U.S. consumers expected to shop online and in-store on Super Saturday, Dec. 21, according to the annual survey released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That compares with the 189.6 million unique shoppers over the full five-day Thanksgiving weekend.
As of early December, 86% of holiday consumers had started shopping and they had completed 52% of their purchasing for the season. Last year at the same point, 88% of consumers had started and had completed 58% of their holiday purchases on average. More than half (56%) of holiday shoppers plan to purchase their last gift during the week before Christmas, and 62% are expected to shop on Super Saturday.
Top gift purchases so far included clothing (49%), toys (31%), gift cards (28%), books and other media (27%) and electronics (24%). A quarter of shoppers (25%) plan to give “gifts of experience,” like tickets to a concert or sporting event. Gifts of experience are most popular among younger shoppers, given by 36% of those 18-34.
• Shopping does not end with Christmas. The survey found that 68% of holiday consumers will likely shop the week after Christmas (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1). They plan to take advantage of post-holiday sales and promotions (49%) and use gift cards (27% ). Younger consumers ages 18-24 are the most likely (84%) to shop the week after Christmas.
• More than half of shoppers (55%) say they will return or exchange any unwanted gifts or holiday items within the first month after receiving them. The vast majority (80% ) prefer to make returns and exchanges in stores, and 74% say they are likely to purchase something else while returning or exchanging an unwanted gift.
NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that sales will total between $727.9 and $730.7 billion.