Vast Majority of Consumers Shopping Later This Year

Consumers are once again waiting until the last minute to complete their holiday shopping as 84 percent are shopping later this year than in 2005, according to a recent survey.

The International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and UBS Securities LLC holiday tracking survey, reports that as of Dec. 17, only 21 percent of consumers have completed their holiday shopping this year, versus the 26 percent that reported the same level of completion in 2005.

The survey found a variety of reasons as to why consumers are procrastinating this year. The nine reasons cited were:
1)  Gift cards are always an option as a present (55%)
2)  Since there is a full weekend (Saturday, December 23 and Sunday, December 24) to shop immediately ahead of Christmas, there is more time to shop (54%)
3)  Did not have time to shop earlier in the season (35%)
4)  Purchasing more gifts or having more individuals to buy for (32%)
5)  Needing more time to find the right gift (31%)
6)  Completing their holiday buying online (30%)
7)  Waiting for additional discounts from retailers (27%)
8)  Taking time off from work during the week before Christmas to complete their holiday buying (24%)  
9)  Did not perceive that they were shopping later than last year (6%)

“Clearly, consumers are going to shop for their holiday purchases until the very last possible second this year,” said ICSC’s Chief Economist and Director of Research, Michael P. Niemira.  “With almost a quarter of consumers (24%) taking time off from work this week to complete their holiday shopping, the potential of a last minute surge taking hold this week and especially this upcoming weekend (December 22-24) is clearly on target,” said Niemira.

The Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of ICSC conducted the survey with a nationwide sample of 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in private households in the continental United States.