by Stephen Garner

Christmas shoppingThe biggest shopping day of the holiday season is approaching, with 66 percent of Americans – an estimated 155.7 million people –planning to or considering taking advantage of Super Saturday, December 17, sales to complete their holiday gift list, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“While many consumers got a head start with holiday shopping by taking advantage of extraordinary sales over Thanksgiving weekend, more shopping and great deals are yet to come,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO at NRF. “We expect retailers will once again be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, especially on Super Saturday.”

Though millions of people got a jump start on their holiday shopping, millions more still have plenty of items on their lists. Similar to previous years, only one in 10 have finished their holiday shopping – 24 million people; that means 90 percent of holiday shoppers have gifts, food, décor and/or other holiday items still to buy. The average holiday shopper has completed 52.5 percent of their shopping, down from last year’s 53.5 percent.

The survey revealed of those consumers that have completed half or less of their holiday shopping say it is because they are still deciding what to buy (44.7 percent) or waiting for requests from loved ones (27.2 percent). While 27 percent have other financial priorities before December and 25 percent said they are too busy with other activities which have delayed/restricted their time to shop for the holidays.

When it comes to when consumers are planning to purchase their last holiday gift, more than 38 percent said sometime before December 18, up from 33 percent last year. Although 12 percent of consumers said that they are planning to wait until December 23.

Last-minute shoppers are planning to purchase their gifts online (52 percent), department stores (42 percent), discount stores (27 percent), clothing or accessories stores (21 percent), electronics stores (18 percent), local/small business (14 percent) and grocery/supermarket stores (13 percent).

“Even though there is still a lot of shopping left for the season, we are seeing Millennials continue the trend of an optimistic outlook heading into the final stretch,” said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper Insight. “Although they tend to be most conservative holiday spenders, nearly half of those 18 to 24 say they are planning to spend ‘more’ this year compared to last, significantly higher than their older counterparts.”

Although consumers are getting ready to complete their holiday within the next week, 48 percent of consumers are planning to take advantage of in-store after-Christmas sales (up from 47 percent last year) and 44 percent are planning to shop online (up from 43 percent last year).