Inside the Mind of the Last-Minute Holiday Gift Shopper

Holiday gifts

The early bird shoppers have finished their gift shopping and are probably enjoying stress-free evenings watching It’s a Wonderful Life while sipping homemade eggnog. But how about the rest of us who still have gifts to buy or (gulp) haven’t started shopping?

Never to fear, our recent survey of nearly 1,200 consumers proves that procrastinators have plenty of company. Even with the convenience of online shopping and steep Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts, there are probably more procrastinators than you thought. Heading into the final week before Christmas, we took the chance to survey these shoppers to find out why they’re procrastinating and their plan of attack as they approach the finish line.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Holiday Shoppers Take It Down to the Final Week
64% of shoppers still have work to do, and 7% haven’t even started. The top excuses? Nearly half (44%) said they haven’t had time to shop, 28% said it’s a money issue, and 20% said their list grew as the season wore on, so they have to buy more gifts. 79% planned to have finished up sometime this week, although 5% will take it right down to the weekend of December 23 and 24.

What Are Procrastinators Buying?
There’s a clear top three echelon of product categories that last-minute shoppers will target – gift cards (44%), stocking stuffers (36%), and clothing/accessories (36%), followed by small toys (18%) and cosmetics/perfume (17%). Ironically, survey respondents also reported that they’ve already purchased products in these categories.

Brick-and-Mortar Wins with Procrastinators
Promises of fast shipping for last-minute shoppers can’t match the guarantee of walking out of a store with gifts in hand. Overall, 48% of survey respondents do their holiday shopping in-store, 36% go to Amazon, and 27% go to other eCommerce sites. However, 68% of procrastinators will do their remaining shopping in-store, compared to 32% on Amazon and 23% on other eCommerce sites.

When asked what factors are most important when deciding where to shop between now and Christmas, most respondents said it was all about convenience. 50% cited easy shopping (easy to get in and out, plenty of parking, etc.), and 46% want to be able to buy multiple items at the same time.

Shoppers Are Still Cost-Conscious, Even at the Last Minute
Price is the most important factor even when choosing last-minute gifts, whether the shopper has a specific gift in mind (58%) or not (42%). 50% of respondents said price is still very important as we get closer to holiday, and they’ll search to find the best price even if they have to spend more time looking. 45% took a softer stance, saying price is somewhat important during the final shopping days, but they’d be willing to spend a little more for the right gift.

Brick-and-mortar dominates last-minute holiday gift shopping in 2017. However, will that be the case when next-day and same-day shipping become the norm? Will shoppers still feel more confident walking into a store and walking out with the gifts they need? As Amazon and other eCommerce recommendation engines become smarter, will they become more influential in the purchase decisions of procrastinators? What can brick-and-mortar retailers do to maintain their dominant position with online shoppers?

About the Data

More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps. Throughout the 2017 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys, and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

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