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Holiday shopping trends

Retail sales during Black Friday weekend soared to $52.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Since that time, however, holiday shopping has fizzled a bit. Most who haven’t finished their shopping yet are waiting for last-minute deals.

Holiday shopping

The ARG/UBS Christmas Forecast found that American shoppers are split in two camps: those who are already done shopping and those who are holding out for last-minute bargains. With hardly anyone in between, retailers aren’t getting much sold right now.

The survey, which was conducted from Dec. 2 to 4, found that 15.1 percent of consumers have already completed their holiday shopping, up from 11.5 percent at this time last year. On the flip side, nearly 60 percent plan to wait until the days just before Christmas for last-minute deals, up from slightly less than half of those polled last year. More than 41 percent say they are waiting to see 70-percent-off signs before they head back to the stores.

According to America’s Research Group, about a third of consumers have finished most of their holiday shopping at this point. So,if you want to shop right now, there’s not that many people at the stores. The bad news for retailers is that they are probably going to have to lower prices more than they’d like or find other incentives to draw people into their stores.

Other interesting stats from the ARG/UBS Christmas Forecast include:

  • Online shopping continues to rise at 25.1 percent, nearly double the 13.4 percent last year.
  • Gift-card purchases, which had been in a decline since peaking in 2006, have returned to a five-year high of 36.8 percent, up from 30.2 percent last year.
  • Self purchases are on the rise, too, with 33.3 percent of shoppers having bought gifts for themselves, up from 30.6 percent in 2010.

More about holiday shopping

Money- and time-saving holiday shopping tips
Holiday shopping survival guide
Holiday savings: Save money shopping online

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