Holiday Shopping Goes Later This Year

With Christmas fast approaching, 66 percent of consumers have yet to finish their holiday shopping, according to a new survey from American Express.

In fact, the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker shows that one in five consumers (21 percent) will still be shopping for gifts the week leading into Christmas, and 4 percent expect to shop on Christmas Eve. However, according to the survey, these consumers aren’t necessarily procrastinating: Some are time-strapped (18 percent), while many are practicing savvy shopping tactics, specifically:

•   31 percent are holding out for the best deals.
•   Almost one in five consumers (19 percent) is still saving money for holiday gifts before he or she can purchase them.
•   11 percent will wait to use their last paycheck.
•   A staggering 10 percent of shoppers indicated they are waiting for post-holiday sales to buy holiday gifts this year.
•   5 percent of the general population, and 12 percent of young professionals, are holding out for an end-of-year bonus.

Consumers who are expecting to spend more (32 percent) or the same (33 percent) in the next 30 days than in the previous 30 days will do so primarily on holiday gift purchases. They attribute the expected spending increase to: decreases in prices (22 percent), making trade-offs with other expenses (21 percent) and having finally saved enough money to afford items (20 percent).

“It’s clear from this survey that there is still a lot of shopping and spending that will take place between now and end of year,” Pamela Codispoti, American Express senior vice president and general manager of cardmember services, said in a statement. “The survey data shows that consumers will be spending on holiday gifts for loved ones and on celebrating with friends and family, but they are focused on doing that in very smart and savvy ways this year.”

The American Express Spending and Saving Tracker research was completed online from Nov. 25-Dec. 1, among a random sample of 2,500 consumers aged 18 and older. The research sample surveyed the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups: the affluent (defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000) and young professionals (defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree and a minimum annual household income of $50,000).

Nielsen Business Media