More last-minute holiday shopping this year

By Blake Ellis, contributing writer

NEW YORK ( -- Holiday shoppers are procrastinating this season more than they have in the past five years, and are looking for discounts as Christmas nears, according to a retail group's survey released Wednesday.

On average, people had checked off 46.7% of their holiday shopping lists by the second week of December, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). It was the lowest level of shopping completion for the period since 2004, when people had finished an average of 46.3% of their shopping in the same time frame. Last year, the survey found shoppers had finished 47.1% of their buying by the second week of December.

Only 8.6% of shoppers had completed their purchases, while 19.1%, had not even begun, according to the survey. About 35% of shoppers expect to be done by Saturday, Dec. 19, which is traditionally the biggest single shopping day of the year.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, last-minute shoppers are looking for sales, with 42% of those surveyed expected to buy gifts from discount stores. About 42% will head to department stores, according to the survey, with about 38% of shoppers finding gifts online this season.

Not only are shoppers looking to spend less this season, but fewer are buying gifts with money they don't have. This year, 30.9% of shoppers are using credit cards for their purchases, compared to 33.8% last year.

The foundation said the survey was conducted between Dec. 1 and 9 among 9,929 consumers.

The NRF reiterated its previous forecast that holiday sales will 1% from last year, and said November retail sales declined 0.8% year-over-year. To top of page

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