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Bargain Hunters Holding Out for Hot Holiday Deals

Bargain Hunters Holding Out for Hot Holiday Deals, According to NRF Survey
NRF/Prosper Survey Finds Significant Jump in Intended Credit Card Usage

WASHINGTON, November 12, 2014 – Procrastinators and bargain hunters alike are taking their time getting started with their holiday shopping bonanza, possibly to take advantage of deeper discounts over Thanksgiving weekend and late in the season. According to NRF’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 45.6 percent of holiday shoppers say they haven’t started shopping yet, relatively flat with last years’ 46.2 percent but the lowest in the survey’s seven-year history.

“Many consumers are going to wait and see how great the promotions will be later this season before making any commitments,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers have reacted to this ‘wait and see’ mentality with fewer October deals and a much quieter entry into November, when we’ll start to see retailers ramp up with offers for exclusive merchandise, deep discounts and unique online savings opportunities.”

The survey found that while slightly fewer people haven’t started shopping yet, 20.6 percent have finished 10 percent or less of their shopping, while 12.4 percent have completed about one-quarter of their lists; 2.2 percent are saying they can sit back and relax as they have already finished their shopping for friends and family.

Unsurprisingly, apparel, toys and video games will be popular gift items this year. The survey found six in 10 (60.9%) will buy clothing and accessories, 46.3 percent will buy books, CDs, DVDs and video games, and two in five (42%) will buy toys. Likely having loaded up on wearable technology items and new smartphones throughout the year, slightly fewer people will buy electronic items as gifts (30.7% vs. 33%). Some people are in for a real treat: 24 percent of shoppers will buy jewelry for a friend or family member, the highest percent since 2006. Gift cards continue as a favorite for both shoppers and recipients as six in 10 (60%) will buy gift cards, similar to the 59.2 percent who planned to do so last year. In an October NRF survey, 60 percent of shoppers also said they’d like to receive gift cards, marking gift cards the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.

Shoppers look for inspiration for gifts from every corner, and with the innovative creation of retailers’ wish lists, many consumers this holiday season will take to the web to point loved ones to specific, perfect gift ideas. The survey found 32.1 percent say they will look for inspiration on wish lists, up from 28.8 percent last year. Others will conduct online searches (47.7%), discuss options with family and friends (41.7%), check out advertising circulars (34.3%) and email advertisements (20.1%), and even search Facebook (10.6%).

“Retailers make holiday shoppers’ job easy with so many options to find the perfect gift, and with little room to waste on gifts that don’t make sense, consumers today want to be sure what they buy is used and enjoyed by their loved ones,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “On the hunt for bargains, quality merchandise that is unique and even exclusive, gift givers this holiday season will seek out both practical and indulgent gift items, though being sure not to break the bank.”

When it comes to how shoppers will pay for their gifts, nearly four in 10 (38%) will use their credit card, the most in the survey’s history and up from 28.5 percent last year; one in five (21.6%) will use cash and 38.4 percent will use their debit or check card. Just 2.1 percent will use a check, the lowest in the survey’s history.
When broken down by age group, young adults ages 18-24 are the least likely to use credit to pay for gifts at just 17.7 percent, and 65+ are the most likely to use credit cards at 56 percent. Nearly half of 18-24 year olds (48.9%) plan to use their debit or check card to buy gift items.

About the Survey
The NRF 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, November 3-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.

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