Consumer Insights

Last-Minute Shopping: A Christmas Consumer Tradition

If one listened closely enough, right behind the marketing hype surrounding deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts was chatter that the vast number of online shopping options have made those once-official retail holidays obsolete. Now, new data is proving the latter right.

According to the most recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, a vast majority of Americans still haven’t finished their holiday shopping, and rather than being a matter of oversight, just as large a majority don’t plan on checking off the last names on their lists until the last possible moment. In total, 73 percent of shoppers admitted that they had no intention of revisiting online or in-store retailers until Christmas Day draws a little closer, and 44 percent of these consumers claimed that their patience was primarily driven by discount-seeking behavior that they are sure retailers will reward.

Jed Scala, senior vice president for consumer lending at American Express, believes that retailers will have no choice but to do so in the face of increasingly patient shoppers.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer the only days for big savings, as savvy shoppers have come to expect an entire season of discounts and deals,” Scala said in a statement. “As we enter the final stretch of the shopping season, we are seeing a growing preference to complete shopping online, possibly connected to the stream of enticing retail offers in consumers’ inboxes.”

However, this cultural preference for saving money at any cost might not be kosher to bring up at the next holiday party. The Amex report found that 76 percent of Americans now find regifting socially acceptable, and 57 percent said that they’d be passing a gift they’d originally received to somebody else this year. That’s no insignificant number of holiday cheapskates, and anyone who receives a piece of kitchenware (22 percent said they’d regift this category), a sweater (17 percent) or a scarf (15 percent) should be wary of where — or who — it came from.

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