News Byte: Sleigh Bells Ring for E-Commerce Companies

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Late shoppers flock online.
Late shoppers flock online.

The National Retail Federation says this is turning out to be “a holiday season like no other.” A survey of more than 6,000 consumers that concluded on December 9 indicated that some 32 million Americans had not yet begun shopping and that half of all shoppers said they planned to complete their purchases online.

That's the highest percentage of last-minute shoppers uncovered in the 11-year history of NRF holiday surveys, which are conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Among Santa's slackers, 29% have a goal of wrapping things up by tomorrow (December 18), 14% by Friday (December 20), and 12% on Saturday (December 21). A full 10% will wait until Christmas Eve.

Nearly half of tablet owners and more than a third of smartphone users said they'd rely on their devices to research purchases in the coming week. A third of tablet jockeys and one fifth of cell phone favorers will actually make purchases with their gadgets.

Though e-commerce retailers look to score a record percentage of purchases in 2013's shortened holiday shopping season, the NRF predicts that final receipts will tally close to last year's. “Last-minute shoppers are savvy bargain hunters who know just how to get everything they need to finish their gift lists,” says Pam Goodfellow, Prosper's consumer insights director.

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