Tomorrow, more than 158 million U.S. consumers will flood malls and stores on Super Saturday, disrupting the mid-December shopping episode. On Tuesday, the National Retail Federation announced its turnout forecast for Dec. 17, based on consumer surveys conducted in conjunction with Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Of the 158 million expected shoppers, NRF predicts that 44.1 million (28%) plan to shop only in stores, 42.2 million (27%) plan to shop online only, and 72.2 million (46%) plan to shop both in stores and online. The survey of 7,857 consumers was conducted Dec. 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percent.
“Shoppers are shopping in record numbers this year to stock up on holiday items for friends and loved ones,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO. “With Super Saturday just eight days away from Christmas, retailers are ready to help shoppers make last-minute purchases , which will make this holiday unforgettable.”
After the Thanksgiving holiday, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Week, retailers typically experience their annual shopping slowdown until about ten days before Christmas. This year, the 158 million figure is nearly 10 million more than expected last year and the highest number since the NRF first started tracking the data in 2016.
This year’s shopping trends reflect that the gifts consumers most commonly buy include clothing (50%), toys (34%), gift cards (28%), books and other media (26%), and food or candy (23%). According to the NRF report, Saturday’s weather in New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles was generally favorable for shopping. Since then, temperatures have dropped significantly, which could seriously affect turnout.
Post-Christmas shopping won’t stop, as 70% of consumers plan to shop after Dec. 25, which is on par with pre-pandemic levels of post-Christmas shopping, the NRF said. Bloated inventory, massive price promotions, returns or exchanges, and gift cards can all lead to more spending. In addition, consumers’ preferred payment methods are constantly evolving. 52% of consumers are using alternative payments or digital wallets, up from 44% last year. The most common alternative payment method is PayPal (32%), followed by Apple Pay (14%) and CashApp (12%).