Procrastinators head to stores this week: NRF survey

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As the holiday shopping season is getting shorter, the biggest procrastinators are men, according to NRF's 2007 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

The survey found that 19.4% of men had yet to begin their holiday shopping, while only 13.7% of women had yet to start and 17.6% of young adults 18-24 still haven't headed to the store.

The survey also found that 25 million consumers, or 11.7% of US consumers, have completely finished their holiday shopping, but more than 35 million shoppers 16.5% of the population haven't even started.

So far this year the average person has completed 52.6% of his or her shopping, compared to 53.1% at this time last year.

According to the survey, department stores are expected to be the destination of choice for the week before Christmas, as 42.4% of shoppers plan to visit those stores to finalize holiday shopping.

The Internet is another important destination, with 38.9% of shoppers planning to finish the season's purchases online. While 38.9% will hit discount stores and 29.9% will go to specialty stores for the last minute items.

Clothing and accessories have been the most popular gifts this holiday season, with 44.4% of consumers, and 49.8% of women, purchasing at least one item this year. Books, CDs, and DVDs make up 41.9% of gifts this year and toys represent 35% of gifts this year. While only 30.2% of consumers have already purchased a gift card, sales of the cards are expected to jump this week, as an earlier holiday survey by BIGresearch for NRF found that gift cards were the most requested gift for the holidays this year.

NRF is forecasting holiday sales to increase 4% over last year, bringing total sales to $474.5 billion.

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