More than 158 million consumers are expected to shop on the last Saturday before Christmas this year, according to the annual consumer survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This figure is approximately 10 million more than last year’s expected number of Super Saturday shoppers and the highest number since NRF first started tracking this data in 2016.
“Consumers have been shopping in record numbers this year, purchasing holiday items for friends and loved ones,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With Super Saturday falling eight days before Christmas, retailers are prepared to help shoppers fulfill their last-minute purchases that will make this holiday season memorable.”
Of the 158.5 million anticipated Super Saturday shoppers, 44.1 million (28%) plan to shop only in stores, 42.2 million (27%) plan to shop only online, and 72.2 million (46%) plan to shop both in stores and online.
In line with recent years, as of early December, holiday shoppers said they had completed about half (53%) of their purchases. They plan to finish their holiday purchases online (47%), at department stores (37%), at discount stores (27%), at clothing/accessories stores (24%) and at grocery stores (19%).
The top gifts consumers have bought so far include clothing (50%), toys (34%), gift cards (28%), books and other media (26%), and food or candy (23%).
This year, 28% of holiday shoppers plan to give a gift of experience such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a gym membership, spa service or art class. This is up from 23% last year and is the highest since NRF began asking consumers this question in 2015.
Additionally, 70% say their shopping plans include buying after Dec. 25. This is on par with pre-pandemic levels for post-Christmas shopping.
“Strong shopping is expected after Christmas as holiday shoppers aim to take advantage of retailers’ sales and promotions,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “In the week following Christmas Day, we expect to see consumers maximize holiday sales and promotions, use gift cards and return or exchange unwanted gifts.”
Meanwhile, the way consumers prefer to pay for holiday purchases is shifting. About half (52%) of consumers say they are using alternative payments or digital wallets. This is up from 44% last year and compares with only 39% in 2019. The most common alternative payment is PayPal (32%), followed by Apple Pay (14%) and CashApp (12%). About three-quarters (76%) of those aged 18 to 24 say they have used an alternative payment method or digital wallet so far this holiday shopping season.
NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.