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Consumer Trends
Early Holiday Promotions Help Put Shoppers Ahead on Their Shopping Lists
For immediate release
December 17, 2014

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WASHINGTON, December 17, 2014 – For millions of Americans the rush to find the perfect gift started early this year, and according to the National Retail Federation’s latest Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average holiday shopper has completed 52.9 percent of their shopping as of December 10, up from 49.9 percent last year. 

"In the final stretch, retailers will continue to look for creative ways to attract those with shopping left to do."
Matthew Shay

“This year we witnessed ‘a tale of two holiday shoppers’ with many jumping on retailers’ early, hard-to-pass-up in-store and online promotions, and others waiting until the last minute to wrap up their lists,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “In the final stretch, retailers will continue to look for creative ways to attract those with shopping left to do by offering exclusive Super Saturday promotions, extending their in-store holiday hours and promoting deals on expedited shipping. We are optimistic the holiday season will end on a high note for retailers.”

For the first time, NRF asked those who had completed less than half (50%) of their shopping why they have chosen to wait until December to wrap up their shopping. The survey found that nearly half (46.8%) said they waited this year because they were still trying to decide what to buy, nearly three in 10 (28.4%) said they are waiting for input from their family and friends, and another 28.4 percent say they have waited because they had other financial priorities before December; one in five (21.7%) admit to being a procrastinator and 23.4 percent said they are waiting for the best deals on holiday merchandise.

When it comes to where people will do the remainder of their shopping, the survey found nearly half (49.1%) of holiday shoppers will shop online; two in five (44.3%) will shop at department stores, 30.1 percent will head to discount stores, 22 percent will visit clothing stores and 19.3 percent will shop at electronics stores. 

NRF also asked holiday shoppers about their use of price matching this holiday season. According to the survey, 15.6 percent said they have requested a price match from a retailer. However, broken out by age it is clear that young adults have taken advantage of this service: nearly three in 10 (27.9%) 18-24 year olds say they have requested a price match from a retailer this holiday season; one in five (21.8%) 25-34 year olds and 18 percent of 35 – 44 year olds have also asked for a price match.

Christmas Day activities run the gamut for holiday celebrants, however, most say they will spend the day visiting with family and friends (66.2%). Another 59.6 percent say they will open gifts on Christmas Day, and 48.8 percent will cook a holiday meal. When not opening gifts or visiting with friends and family, one in five (22.2%) will browse the web and just 7.4 percent plan to actually shop online on Christmas Day.

While there’s plenty of shopping left to do, nearly one-third (32.8%) plan to buy their last holiday gift before Thursday, December 18; 14.5 percent will look to Super Saturday (Saturday, December 20) to purchase their last gift, and 9.1% will wait until the very last minute and buy their last gift on Christmas Eve. Additionally, more men than women will wait until Christmas Eve to purchase the last gift (10.5% versus 7.9% respectively).

“Though millions of eager consumers jumped on early holiday promotions, there is still plenty of shopping left to do,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Hurried last-minute shoppers will look for gift cards, clothing items, toys and other popular gifts from a variety of retailers, likely even hoping to win big with expedited shipping deals and extremely low prices online and in stores.”

About the Survey
The NRF 2014 holiday consumer spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,165 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics December 2-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper 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.ProsperDiscovery.com

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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