Holiday Shopping 2015: 17 Percent Of American Consumers Haven’t Begun Christmas Shopping

Here’s a not-so-surprising statistic: 17 percent of American consumers revealed that they have not begun their holiday shopping a week prior to Christmas, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll was conducted on December 14-18, according to CNBC News. Let’s hope that the 17 percent of American consumers started their holiday shopping this past weekend. Meanwhile, less than a third revealed that they completely finished their shopping.

Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, was supposed to bring the highest sales for brick and mortar stores since Black Friday, according to Shopper Tank. But the poll found that half of Americans admitted that they’ve been too busy to go holiday shopping. Having a hectic schedule wasn’t the only reason, though. Some Americans cited indecision as the reason why they haven’t finished their holiday shopping.

The poll also found that 55 percent of American consumers are more cautious about spending due to the economic uncertainty that persists. Some 45 percent of consumers haven’t finished their holiday shopping because they were hoping that retailers would offer better prices leading up to the holiday, and 43 percent believe that online shopping would allow them to purchase everything they need at the very last minute.

Some 32 percent of those American consumers think that online retailers should offer same-day shipping. That’s an 8 percent increase from November, according to the poll. The Reuters/Ipsos survey polled 1,639 adults, with a plus or minus of 2.8 percentage points.

One reason why consumers probably haven’t finished holiday shopping is that they’re probably looking for less expensive gifts. They may even be shop at other stores like the Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 5 and Below. According to the ABC News report, American consumers are not looking for discounts on brand name ticket items and designers goods. Instead, they’re purchasing less expensive gifts that they would have not even considered buying in the past.

Jane Montero, who lives in New York with her husband, is one of those consumers who are changing her attitude about holiday shopping and gift giving this year. She’s buying her friends and family candle sets and serving dishes that are less than $30. “We want to make sure we’re conscious of what we’re spending,” she told ABC News.

According to the America’s Research Group, a firm that researches consumer behavior, 4 percent of people is willing to buy gifts under $10 this year. Meanwhile, the number of people willing to spend between $26 and $35 fell down to 18 percent from 22 percent.

The National Retail Federation also revealed that consumers will spend less this holiday season. The retail trade association predicts that holiday shopping in November and December will be up 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion this year, which is lower than the 4.1 percent during the same period last year. The NRF also predicted that online shopping will grow as much as 8 percent this year over last year.

Another reason why consumers’ attitudes have changed this holiday shopping season is because they’re beginning to wonder if they’re already paying too much for the gifts they’re buying. They don’t trust the bargains, deals, or price slashes that the retailers consistently put out. So now, they plan to buy less expensive items instead.

If you’re doing some last-minute holiday shopping this week, keep some of these handy tips in mind, courtesy of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau, brought to you by Fox 61 News.

  1. If the item doesn’t have a price tag, let the sales associate know. If you need to return it, then you want to make sure that it’s listed on the receipt to avoid any complications.
  2. Opt for an electronic receipt so you don’t have paper receipts stuffed in your handbag or wallet. Check your smartphone or tablet to make sure you receive the e-receipt or paperless receipt before you leave the store.
  3. Keep all the receipts and paperwork for all the gifts you buy. If you don’t have a receipt, or if you lose your receipt, the retailer won’t give you a refund or exchange without proof of purchase. In most cases, you may have to take store credit.
  4. Use a safe and secure method of payment such as a credit card or online payment service. Be careful using debit cards since funds are taken directly from your account at the time of purchase, and you may not be able to get that money back until the issue is resolved. In the event of a dispute or fraud, you can file a complaint with the BBB online, or by calling your local BBB.

Have you finished your holiday shopping? Or, are you still trying to get started? Sound off below in the comments section.

[Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images]