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‘Last-Minute’ Holiday Shopping Survey Reveal Curious Consumer Trends

Procrastinators in pursuit of last-minute holiday gifts aren’t alone – in fact, they’re the majority this year, according to Klarna’s Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Survey, which revealed a rivulet of unconventional consumer trends that define a year of radical change in retail.

Klarna, a payment provider and shopping service, surveyed over 40,000 U.S. consumers and found that 79 percent of shoppers left their holiday shopping to the last-minute and planned to finish buying gifts within two weeks of Christmas, according to the firm.

And, surprisingly, 64 percent of last-minute shoppers say they’ll do the last of their Christmas shopping in-store, while 55 percent said they will likely purchase gifts online, even if those items won’t be delivered by Christmas Day.

In the spirit of retail in 2020, 27 percent of last-minute shoppers will only head to brick-and-mortar stores if curbside pickup options are available. But “eleventh-hour shoppers,” or 35 percent of those surveyed, are a riskier bunch; these professional procrastinators saved their holiday shopping for the week of Christmas.

The most popular last-minute gift category is apparel, with clothing and accessories at 78 percent, followed by electronics at 45 percent; gift cards at 44 percent; and home goods at 33 percent. Younger generations seek the small, independent brands for gifts, as only 26 percent of Silent Gen shoppers and 34 percent of Baby Boomers said they are shopping small and independent brands this year, versus 45 percent of Gen Zers and 43 percent of Millennials, all according to Klarna.

Respondents agreed en masse that the best gift ever received was jewelry, with over 2,000 of those surveyed saying that rings were their favorite holiday gift to date, followed by other popular presents such as gift cards, money, cars, watches and handbags, the firm noted.

Last-minute shopping this year will be a blend of in-store and online, according to Klarna’s recent survey. 
Gregory Lee – stock.adobe.com

And as far as the strangest gift ever received? “The strangest gift is one that everybody still needs. When asked what they thought was the strangest gift they’ve ever received, respondents’ top response – noted by more than 3,000 of those surveyed – was socks, Klarna said.

For those gifts that just won’t get there on time, 45 percent of last-minute shoppers said they will give a print-out photo of the gift or an IOU note as a “placeholder” until the gift arrives, according to 28 percent of respondents. And alternatively, gift cards are a popular last-minute option, with 44 percent opting to leave the gift choice up to the recipient.

David Sykes, head of U.S. at Klarna, said that its survey “has uncovered many interesting consumer shopping trends for retailers to consider as we count down to the holidays, including that the majority of U.S. shoppers plan to shop in physical retail stores for last-minute gifts this year.”

As delivery windows come to a close this week, physical retail will grow in importance for each age group that plans to do the last of their Christmas shopping in-store: 67 percent of Gen Zers, 64 percent of Millennials, 63 percent of Gen Xers, 58 percent of Baby Boomers and 57 percent of Silent Gen-ers plan to shop in-store at the last minute, the survey found.

“This is consistent across all age groups, including the digitally-inclined younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials, and illustrates how valuable the in-store shopping experience is – even in today’s current climate.”

For more Business news from WWD, see:

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