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Holiday Shopping: 36 Percent Have Yet to Get Started




This time, I truly am done talking about Cyber Monday and Black Friday but that doesn’t mean we’re done with holiday shopping – like 36% of Americans, we’re just getting started!

ConsumerReports.org polled your average Americans to discover their true feelings about shopping during this time of the year. Almost half said they were three-quarters finished or completely finished. (Count me in that group if I can just resist the urge for the rest of the month!). That still leaves plenty of shoppers who are searching for deals online and off.

People with gifts in hand said they mostly shopped at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. 39% bought gifts online (you know I did!) and 32% when for department stores such as Sears and Macy’s. Only 28% picked a retail specialty chain such as Toys “R” Us and Best Buy.

Online outlets – give yourself a pat on the back because almost an equal number of people thought the deals online were just as good as the deals from the big box stores. Take that Wal-Mart.

Silver and Gold

The Consumer Reports Poll puts the median spending at $483 which is in line with the numbers from other sources. 81% of those polled said they were at least somewhat concerned about limiting their spending. They didn’t say they were going to limit spending, just that they were concerned. (Join the party.)

Here’s how they planned to save:

  •     Give less expensive gifts (55 percent)
  •     Be more active in seeking out sales and discount coupons (46 percent)
  •     Give gifts to fewer people (38 percent)
  •     Agree on more limited gift-giving arrangements within family or group of friends (29 percent)
  •     Limit online shopping to websites that offer free shipping (23 percent)
  •     Give homemade or other creative gifts instead of store-bought gifts (21 percent)
  •     Limit or cut down on holiday travel (19 percent)
  •     Send holiday cards to fewer people (16 percent)

Now I pause for an ironic moment as I recall a conversation I just had with my husband about gift giving. . . I shall say only that 65% of shoppers simply buy what the receiver asked for. Four out of ten got ideas from commercials, online reviews and other types of ads.

Note to offline retailers: A very small percentage got gift ideas from a salesperson so you’ve got some re-training to do.

Where does social media fit in? Only 13% said it was a good source of holiday shopping information. The majority turned to the old fashioned newspaper for deals. Some habits die hard.

Keep up the good fight, folks, we’ve got a long way to go.