Holiday shoppers wait for last minute: NRF

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"Better late than never" is the mantra retailers are repeating to themselves as the last shopping weekend before Christmas nears and with good reason, according to a survey done by Bigresearch for the National Retail Federation.

As of Dec. 13, the average person had completed 53.1 percent of his or her shopping compared with 54.6 percent at this time last year, said the NRF, Washington. More than 33 million shoppers, or 15.4 percent, admit they haven't even started yet.

NRF's 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey also found that men are more likely to shop last minute, with 17.8 percent stating that they have not begun their holiday shopping compared with 13.1 percent of women.

This week should be a big one for department stores as almost half of shoppers, or 47.6 percent, said they would head to a department store to finish their shopping. One third, or 33.9 percent, will shop online and 33.3 percent will head to specialty stores.

Only 39 percent of last-minute shoppers said they will head to discounters this week, a large drop from the 70.3 percent of consumers who planned to shop at discounters earlier this holiday season.

Department stores continue to bring in young adults as well, with 60.9 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds saying they will be shopping at a department store this week. Nearly half, or 47.5 percent, said they would finish their shopping online, and 45.7 percent said they would go to specialty stores.

Of those who have started their holiday shopping, 47 percent have purchased clothing or clothing accessories; 44.7 percent bought books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games; 37.6 bought toys; and 29.5 percent bought gift cards or gift certificates.

The survey polled 7,828 consumers between Dec. 5 and 13.

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