Washington—The National Retail Federation is predicting less last-minute holiday shopping this year than in 2020.
According to its latest survey conducted in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 148 million consumers will shop in-store and/or online on “Super Saturday,” or the last Saturday before Christmas.
That’s fewer than last year, when 150 million were expected to shop on Super Saturday, but up from 2019 when 147 million were predicted to shop.
“Retailers began preparations for the holiday season months in advance, offering seasonal inventory early and taking preventative measures to circumvent supply chain challenges exacerbated by the pandemic,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
“Consumers have responded with a growing eagerness to kick off the holiday shopping season early, and they expect to carry that momentum through the last few weeks of the year.”
The NRF began tracking Super Saturday statistics in 2016. This year, the Saturday prior to Christmas is exactly one week ahead of the holiday, falling on Dec. 18.
It’s basing its 2021 predictions on a survey of 7,453 adults conducted between Nov. 24 and Dec. 3.
Approximately 27 percent of consumers will shop in-store only and 32 percent online-only, while 41 percent will do both.
Shoppers are expected to spend an average $997.73 on holiday purchases this year.
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Shopping is happening on the early side this year, with a record 42 percent of respondents saying they hoped to purchase their last gift by Dec. 18, up from 40 percent last year.
A majority, 52 percent, plan to finish their shopping in the week leading up to Christmas.
In November, almost 180 million Americans shopped in the five-day window encompassing Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. By early December, 84 percent of shoppers had begun their holiday shopping.
Of the destinations where consumers will spend their money this holiday period, online comes in first (48 percent), followed by department stores (34 percent), discount stores (21 percent), clothing and accessories stores (20 percent), and local and small businesses (16 percent).
This year, they’re shopping for clothing and accessories (44 percent), toys (30 percent), books and other media (26 percent), gift cards (25 percent) and electronics (20 percent).
Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents (23 percent) said their gifts would include some type of “experience.”
Experts say early shopping this year is due to consumers avoiding global supply chain constraints. Of those surveyed, 71 percent said they have been able to find the items they’re looking for most or all of the time while 67 percent said they are confident or very confident they will find the gifts they’re seeking.
Consumers have responded to this holiday season’s supply chain challenges with flexibility,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said.
“When shoppers do experience difficulty finding gifts, they take a proactive approach toward alternate solutions like checking another retailer, location or channel or identifying a substitute item. Additionally, some will choose to gift cash or a gift card or even wait to see if the item comes back in stock.”
Consumers also plan to shop post-Christmas, with 65 percent intending to make purchases the week post-Christmas, whether to take advantage of deals and promotions (42 percent) or to use gift cards (24 percent).
The NRF expects holiday sales to grow as much as 11.5 percent, exceeding its previous forecast of 8.5 to 10.5 percent growth.