Holiday Shoppers Procrastinating, Using Coupons

December 20, 2011

compete-holiday-shopping-completion-guage-yoy-dec11.gif21% of shoppers had completed 10% or less of their holiday shopping as of December 4, compared to 16% at the same time last year, according to a December 2011 survey from Compete. Data from the survey indicates that a further 34% had completed less than half of their shopping, while only about one-quarter had finished more than 75% of their holiday shopping. These figures mirror results from an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of RetailMeNot, which found that as of December 12, just 16% of adults claimed to have finished all of their shopping, with a plurality (33%) reporting having done less than one-quarter of their shopping.

1 in 5 Cite Strategic Delays

20% of adults responding to the RetailMeNot survey indicate that they are waiting to make big purchases for the holiday shopping season because they are anticipating last minute deals. Midwesterners (34%), part-time workers (33%), those with a household income of $25,000 or less (28%), and adults under 35 (27%) are among those most likely to say that they are waiting to shop in hopes of finding great deals.

According to a survey released in December 2011 by PriceGrabber, 41% of online shopping consumers plan to shop between December 21 and 24 for holiday gifts, with the leading reasons among those consumers for their delay being an inability to finish their shopping earlier and a belief that the best discounts can be found during that time period (both at 43%).

Coupons, Promo Codes Use Widespread

47% of respondents to the RetailMeNot survey report that they have used a printable coupon in-store or online promotion code when shopping on the internet to get deals such as a “certain percentage off,” “certain dollar amount off,” buy 1, get one free,” or “free shipping.” College graduates (62%), full-time workers (56%), those with a household income of at least $25,000 (56%), and women (53%) tend to be more likely to have used an in-store coupon or online promotional code when purchasing a gift.

1 in 3 Spending Less Than Planned

It may be that coupon use is proving worthwhile to shoppers: 31% of shoppers are spending less than planned, more than twice the proportion who are going over-budget (15%). Slightly less than half are spending about as much as expected. The remaining 7% are either not buying gifts (5%) or are unsure about their holiday spending (2%).

Parents are less likely to be coming in under-budget than are adults without a child under 18 (25% vs. 34%), while those with a household income of $25,000 or less are more likely to be spending less than expected than are more affluent adults (47% vs. 25%).

According to the Compete survey, shoppers stated that they have spent an average of $192 online and $182 in-store on their holiday gifts.

Spending Forecast Revised Upwards

Holiday shoppers may be spending less than planned, but according to the NRF, holiday sales will rise 3.8% this year to a record $469.1 billion. The previous forecast had called for anticipated sales growth of 2.8%. NRF analysis indicates that the forecast increase is well above the 10-year average sales increase of 2.6%, but below the 5.2% increase the retail industry experienced last year.

E-commerce Continues Climb

comscore-holiday-e-commerce.jpgThe NRF may be paying attention to online spending: according to comScore, nearly $32 billion has been spent online for the holiday season-to-date (from November 1 to December 18), marking a 15% increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (ending December 18) boasted 4 individual days surpassing $1 billion in sales, reaching an all-time peak of $6.3 billion in online retail spending, up 14% from the corresponding week last year. In fact, for the holiday season-to-date, 10 individual days have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales, led by Cyber Monday ($1.251 billion). The most recent to pass the mark was “Free Shipping Day” (Friday, December 16), which ranks sixth at $1.072 billion.

About the Data: The Ipsos poll was conducted December 9-12, 2011. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the US were interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus.

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