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December 15, 2021

NRF: Lots of Holiday Shopping Left

NRF Upgrades 2021 Retail Forecast After Strong First Half

This year, more than 148 million consumers plan to shop in-store and online on Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The 148 million figure represents a slight drop from last year when 150 million consumers said they would shop the date but an increase from the 147 million who did so in 2019.

This year Super Saturday falls exactly one week before Christmas, and the number of anticipated shoppers is the third-highest reported since NRF began tracking shopping intentions for the date in 2016. Just over a quarter of consumers plan to shop exclusively in-store while 32% plan to shop online only and 41% expect to use a combination of the two channels.

Consumers plan to spend a total of $997.73 on holiday purchases this year as of early December, NRF indicated, and they had completed 52% of their holiday shopping. Many want to wrap up their shopping early, with a record 42% planning to purchase their last gift before December 18 as compared to 40% a year ago and 30% in 2012. Still, 52% of consumers expect to purchase last-minute gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

NRF/Prosper research begun before Thanksgiving revealed that 54% of holiday shoppers took advantage of early seasonal sales and promotions even before Turkey Day. In the five-day Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period almost 180 million Americans shopped for the holidays, and 84% had started checking items off their gift lists by early December, according to NRF.

As they looked forward, 48% of holiday shoppers said they planned to complete the remainder of their shopping online. Other top destinations include department stores, for 34%, discount stores, for 21%, clothing and accessories stores, for 20%, and local and small businesses, for 16%. The most popular gifts purchased to date include clothing and accessories, purchased by 44% of survey respondents, toys, by 30%, books and other media, by 26%, gift cards, by 25%, and electronics, by 20%, while 23% of holiday shoppers plan to give an experience gift this year.

Despite the supply chain troubles experienced by retailers, 71% of holiday shoppers said they could find the items they were looking for most or all of the time, and 67% said they were confident or very confident about finding the gifts and other items desired for the holiday season this year. In addition, 65% of holiday shoppers said that they plan to shop during the week immediately following Christmas to, in terms of top reasons, take advantage of deals and promotions, for 42%, and to use gift cards, for 24%.

In announcing the survey results, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said, “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. 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.”

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