Last-Minute Shoppers Continue to Spend Online

As of December 9, 32 million Americans had not even started their Christmas shopping. That is an overwhelming number of people who are desperately looking for last-minute deals online, trying to avoid the crowded stores. In fact, a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics, found that 49.9 percent of shoppers plan to do the rest of their shopping online, the highest percentage in the survey’s 11-year history. Already, holiday e-commerce spending has set records, topping $19.2 billion as of December 17, a 20.6 percent increase over the same period last year,  according to comScore. “It comes as no surprise that Americans are eager to shop online in the coming weeks as busy schedules and a shift in the calendar have made the convenience offered by retailers’ mobile apps and websites even more attractive this year,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement, Chain Store Age reported. Plus, more shoppers are taking to the internet for holiday shopping during the weekends, according to new comScore research, which should benefit e-commerce sales this weekend. “While we have seen solid growth during the days between Monday and Friday, weekend growth rates have surged to nearly four times what we’re seeing during the work weeks,” comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, told Internet Retailer. For example, online sales surged 41 percent to $1.65 billion for the weekend of December 14 and 15, compared to the corresponding weekend last year, comScore found. While a majority of online sales still stem from desktop computers, many last-minute shoppers are ordering from their tablets and smartphones. Until Christmas Day, an impressive 33.3 percent of tablet owners will make gift purchases using their devices, and 19.2 percent of smartphone owners will purchase items on their phones, according to the NRF survey. In addition, 46.6 percent of tablet owners will research products and compare prices to aid in their purchase decisions, and 36.3 percent of smartphone owners will do the same. 29.2 percent of those who have not finished shopping say they will wrap it up by December 18, while 14.2 percent will finish shopping on December 20 and 12.3 percent on December 21. A surprising 10.1 percent will wait until Christmas Eve to finish shopping, the NRF survey found. Surprisingly, 9.2 percent of those celebrating Christmas will shop online that day, up from 4.9 percent when NRF first asked that question in 2009.