56% of holiday shopping not done by Panic Saturday

More than half, 56 percent, of Christmas shoppers have gifts left to purchase by Panic Saturday, the last Saturday to shop for holiday gifts, according to RetailMeNot's latest Shoppers Trend Report.

Even more staggering, 18 percent of those shoppers surveyed have waited until the last Saturday before Christmas to even start shopping for presents.

More women, 22 percent, versus men, 16 percent, admit to procrastinating. Additionally, parents are more likely, 70 percent, to wait compared with adults who don't have kids, 49 percent, to pick up last-minute gifts.

"Even if you tend to procrastinate, there's no reason you should have to spend more money because you have less time to buy gifts," said Rebekah George, lifestyle contributor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "Retailers will be offering promotions until the final hour before they close for the holidays, so don't let desperation get in the way of taking a few minutes to search for a coupon or discount."

Forty-three percent of consumers said they wait until the last minute to shop because they don't know what to get as gifts, while another 30 percent wait to shop as they get unexpected gifts and feel the need to reciprocate. Financial reasons, 23 percent, and remaining cash, 22 percent, are also popular motivations for last-minute shopping.

Finally, 69 percent of holiday shoppers would rather do their last-minute shopping in-store than online, which is up from 62 percent last year. Stores draw in consumers because they allow them to see an item in person, 71 percent, and shoppers can have the item in hand immediately, 58 percent.

Data does show that some consumers have begun holiday shopping, as retail sales were up 0.6 percent in November over the same month last year. The gain was on track with the National Retail Federation's holiday sales forecast predictions, which anticipate a 4.1 percent total increase over the season in 2013.

But there's still plenty of shopping to be done, as store traffic dropped 5.2 percent from 2013 over Thanksgiving weekend, and the total number of same shopper trips was also down to 233.3 million shoppers from 248.6 million last year.

For more:
-See this RetailMeNot press release

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