73% Will Shop Last Minute, as They Wait for Best Deals

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The FINANCIAL — Going into the final stretch of the holiday season, a majority of Americans are far from finished with their holiday shopping, according to the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. Seventy-three percent (73%) plan to shop last minute (vs. 79% in 2014), as most wait to find the best deals (44% vs. 46% in 2014).

Other reasons consumers are shopping last minute include trying to save up until they have enough money (22%, on par with 2014) and difficulty finding the time to shop (20% vs. 16% in 2014).

In terms of where consumers choose to make purchases, on average, 51% of Americans have purchased items online this holiday season vs. 49% in-store.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer the only days for big savings, as savvy shoppers have come to expect an entire season of discounts and deals,” said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express. “As we enter the final stretch of the shopping season, we are seeing a growing preference to complete shopping online, possibly connected to the stream of enticing retail offers in consumers’ inboxes.”

Reduce, Re-gift, Recycle

Earlier this year, 73% of Americans set a holiday budget (vs. 72% in 2014), and they intend to stick to it. Only 25% of Americans expect to exceed this allotted amount, significantly down from 32% last year. To stick to these budgets, Americans plan to cut back and reduce their holiday spending (53% vs. 55% in 2014), and one way they plan to save money is by cutting down on personal purchases compared to last year (38% vs. 47% in 2014).

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Another way Americans are planning to stick to budgets is through re-gifting. Traditionally taboo, re-gifting has become commonplace, with more than three-fourths of Americans (76%) finding it socially acceptable (on part with 2014) and 57% claiming they will likely re-gift this season. The top three items people would re-gift are:

Kitchenware (22% vs. 20% in 2014)

Sweaters (17% vs. 15% in 2014)

Scarves (15% vs. 12% in 2014)

Last year, more than half (54%) of consumers expected to re-gift, and 48% actually did. These gift recyclers gave an average of five re-gifted presents.

December 26th: The New Black Friday

The retail frenzy doesn’t end with Christmas. December 26th has arguably emerged as its own shopping holiday, outranking the number of people who expected to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (66% on December 26th vs. 45% on Black Friday and 47% on Cyber Monday). This year, more respondents than ever before plan to get some retail therapy on the day after Christmas (vs. 64% in 2014), spending an average of $186 (vs. $192 in 2014).

The top reasons to shop on the 26th include:

Taking advantage of post-holiday sales to buy things for themselves (38% vs. 34% in 2014)

Using gift cards received from others (25% vs. 26% in 2014)

Taking advantage of post-holiday sales to buy presents for the following year (21% vs. 21% in 2014)


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