NRF: More Than 150 Million Consumers Plan to Shop on ‘Super Saturday’ (Dec. 19) — With 27% Eyeing Packaged-Media Gifts

With less a week before Christmas, more than 150 million U.S. consumers plan to shop on Super Saturday (Dec. 19), up slightly from 147.8 million in 2019, according to new data from the National Retail Federation.

NRF’s survey of 8,092 adult consumers was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics Nov. 25 through Dec. 4. The trade group defines the holiday season from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. Over the 2020 holiday season, NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, will increase between 20% and 30%. In total consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this year, according to NRF’s annual survey released in October.

“Throughout this year’s extraordinary circumstances, retailers have remained dedicated to protecting their customers, employees and the communities they serve regardless of how and when consumers choose to shop,”  Matthew Shay, CEO of NRF, said in a statement.

The number of anticipated shoppers on the last Saturday before Christmas includes both in-store and online and is the second-highest reported since NRF began tracking this figure in 2016. Of those planning to shop, 42% intend to do so solely online. Last year Super Saturday occurred just a few days before Christmas, while this year it falls nearly a week before the Christmas holiday, giving shoppers a few extra days to complete purchases.

As noted in NRF’s Thanksgiving survey, more than half (52%) of holiday shoppers took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions even before the Thanksgiving holiday. Last month 186.4 million Americans shopped between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. As of early December, 85% of holiday consumers had started shopping and they had completed 52% of their purchasing for the season.

For those with at least half of their shopping left to complete, 37% were still deciding what to buy, 26% were waiting for family and friends to tell them what they wanted, and 23% were holding off for the best deals. Similarly to last year, more than half (54%) of holiday shoppers plan to purchase their last gift during the week leading up to Christmas.

A majority (52%) of holiday shoppers plan to do the remainder of their shopping online. Other top destinations include department stores (30%), discount stores (20%), clothing and accessories stores (20%) and electronics stores (17%).

Top gift purchases so far included clothing and accessories (45%), toys (29%), gift cards (28%), books and other media (27%) and electronics (23%). Just 21% of holiday shoppers plan to give a “gift of experience” this year, down from 25% in 2019 and the lowest since NRF first asked the question in 2015.

“While traditionally a popular item, it’s clear that the pandemic has impacted ‘gifts of experience’ this year,” said Phil Rist, Prosper’s EVP of strategy. “With continued uncertainty around gatherings and out-of-home activities, we saw the biggest decline in plans to gift an experience among those ages 35 to 44, but the under-25 cohort also saw a significant dip.”

Still, shopping will continue into the new year. The survey found that two-thirds (66%) of holiday shoppers will likely shop in the week immediately following Christmas. The top reasons consumers plan to shop during the last week of December are to take advantage of post-holiday sales and promotions (45%) and use gift cards (27%). Whether it’s shopping post-holiday sales immediately after Dec. 25 or in the first few weeks of the new year, nearly half of shoppers plan to shop these deals online.

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