With 90% of shopping lists still unfinished and warmer weather eroding that winter-wonderland motivation, retailers are piling on promotions in efforts to win big in their final holiday push.
Kohl’s, for example, is knocking $20 bucks off its FitBits and Sony Extra Bass headphones in Super Saturday early bird deals, and says it plans to stay open for more than 170 hours -- running straight through 7 a.m. on Dec. 17 until 6 p.m. on Dec. 24.
And Toys R Us is running flash sales, as well as giving its Star Wars collection a Falcon-worthy effort. It’s an especially critical Christmas selling period for the Wayne, NJ-based retailer, which just reported its quarterly sales fell to $2.3 billion -- a decline of $128 million -- and that same-store sales in the U.S. slipped 0.9%. It did, however, trim its net loss for the quarter to $166 million -- an improvement from $221 million a year ago. The results “demonstrate the continued progress we are making,” says CEO Dave Brandon, in its release. “As we enter the final ten days of the holiday selling period, we are focused on the flawless execution of our plan to ensure customers have an enjoyable shopping experience.”
And it looks like there is still plenty of opportunity to make those sales, with the National Retail Federation reporting that 90% of holiday shoppers aren’t finished yet. The average person has completed about 54% of their holiday purchases. (That’s similar to last year’s 53%.) And only about 10% say they have completely wrapped up their seasonal purchases.
They have their reasons: Almost 45% say they haven’t made up their minds about gift choices, 22% are waiting for better deals, and 21% admit they’re just procrastinating.
“We expect retailers will be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, including extended store hours and in-store events, as well as online deals and free shipping offers,” says NRF CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “Even an unseasonably warm winter cannot keep last-minute shoppers from putting off their holiday purchases anymore.”
One emerging trend, however, isn’t such good news for conventional retailers. For the first time, the Washington-based trade group polled consumers about gifts based on experiences, such as tickets to a big game, a whitewater rafting trip or a gift-of-the-month club. While such gifts appeal to most shoppers, with 22% planning to give such a gift and 37% hoping to get one, those numbers jump significantly for Millennials, with 35% of those 25 to 34 intending to give one, and half saying they hope they get one.