You are certainly not alone if you need to finish or even start your holiday shopping. It may not be a relaxing few days for consumers, or retailers, as they rush to prepare for the holidays. Retailers can expect crowds and heavy traffic as the majority of holiday shoppers visit stores or fill up their online shopping charts between now and Christmas. Also, consumers are planning on spending more on the holidays than they were earlier in the season – another piece of good news for retailers.

After polling over 1,300 adults from 12/16/2015, we can see that among holiday shoppers, 12% still need to start their holiday shopping and another 49% of consumers still need to ‘wrap-up’ their holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping progress - Dec. 21, 2015

So who are those who haven’t even started their holiday shopping? We will refer to these consumers as last-minute shoppers.

When compared to the average adult holiday shoppers, last-minute shoppers are…

  • 33% more likely to be men over women (gasp).
  • 75% more likely to be under 25 years old. They are also 24% more likely to not have children. Maybe they don’t have as many gifts to purchase as others, therefore they start shopping in the days prior to the holiday.
  • Likely to have a lower income than average, which isn’t surprising given their younger age.
  • 83% more likely to say none of their holiday shopping will be done online this year. That’s good because they may not receive their gifts in time for the holiday if they buy online.
  • 15% more likely to eat at quick service restaurants at least once a week.
  • Less likely to be loyal to any brands.

Retailers can expect many more sales before the holiday given the number of consumers who still need to complete their holiday shopping.

Which leads us to our final analysis – how much are consumers planning to spend this year compared to last year? Earlier in the season, we found 13% adults planned to spend more this holiday while more than double that (28%) planned to spend less this holiday than the previous year. After tracking this topic throughout the holiday season, we are seeing a notable change.

When looking at the 1,200 adult consumers who responded last week, we can see their spending plans have shifted a little:

Holiday shopping - spending Dec. 21, 2015

Now, 21% of adult consumers expect to spend more this holiday season than last, compared to the 13% who said the same in early October. As the season progressed, more consumers planned to spend more on the holidays. However, the number of adults who said they will be spending less this holiday has not changed from earlier in the season. Overall, more consumers are still saying they will spend less than more this holiday season, but the gap between the two is slowly closing.

Holiday shopping - spending Dec. 21, 2015 graph

The highest jump in consumers answering they would be spending more was right after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The big sales days – Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., and promotions could have persuaded consumers to spend a bit more this holiday season.

As Christmas quickly nears, many consumers will be rushing to complete their holiday shopping. Overall, more than half of holiday shoppers will be spending money from now until Christmas and it seems consumers are willing to spend more money at this point in the season than earlier in the holiday season. Retailers can expect a steady crowd over the next few days.