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12/16/2021

Survey: Holiday shoppers aren’t done yet

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retailers have plenty of time to capture holiday sales.

A new survey from Klarna reveals that many consumers have not yet even come close to finishing their holiday shopping.

Results from the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adult consumers conducted by the global payments provider and shopping platform indicate that about nine in 10 (89%) respondents haven’t finished their holiday shopping yet, up 39% from the 64% of respondents who were not finished by this point in the 2020 holiday season.

The top three reasons why last-minute shoppers haven’t completed their purchases yet are because they haven’t been able to find the “right” gifts (40%), got a late start (35%), and are waiting on better sales/holiday deals (32%). Seventy percent of respondents say that finding the perfect gift is more important than having it arrive in time for the holidays.

On average, respondents are 60% finished with their holiday shopping–with 40% remaining to be done in the coming weeks. Among these last-minute shoppers, 31% will perform the last of their shopping during the week of Christmas, and 53% will shop on Super Saturday (Saturday before Christmas).

And while stockouts have impacted one in five respondents, the majority are not concerned about having a gift in time for the holidays. More than four in 10 (42) respondents expect to purchase some holiday gifts after Christmas is over, with 62% of those saying they plan to shop sales between December 25-31. This is up 13% from the 49% of consumers who shopped after-Christmas sales in that time period last year. 

For respondents who reported being affected by stockouts, the product categories most impacted include electronics (31%), clothing & shoes (28%), children’s products (20%), and entertainment (18%).

Other notable findings include:

  • Two-thirds of respondents purchasing gifts within two weeks of Christmas will do at least half of their remaining shopping online, and 69% actively seek out brands that offer same-day delivery.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of last-minute shoppers are looking to purchase physical products for their remaining holiday gifts, with electronics (21%) and apparel (18%) being the most popular product categories. Over half (55%) will purchase gift cards.
  • The most popular place for last-minute shoppers to purchase gifts within the weeks leading up to Christmas are big-box retailers like Target or Walmart (67%), followed closely by marketplaces like Amazon, eBay (57%).

Even though shoppers got an earlier start to holiday sales this year, it doesn't mean they’re stopping earlier,” said Raji Behal, U.S. head of partner success, Klarna. But what’s particularly surprising among these down-to-the-wire consumers is that their priority when shopping isn’t delivery deadlines and ensuring that they just have something to give in time for the holidays – it’s finding the perfect gift for their loved ones. In fact, not having found the right’ gift yet (40%) is the top reason cited among consumers who haven’t completed their purchases yet this season.

“For retailers, this means there’s a nice opportunity to market their products toward this intentional sentiment and try to help shoppers find the right gift,” said Behal. “Retail apps are more often consulted for shopping inspiration than social media influencers for these last-minute buyers.”

Klarna’s survey was sent out online in December 2021, in collaboration with research agency Dynata, to a representative sample of more than 1,000 respondents aged 18-66 in the U.S.