Shoppers who wait until the last minute may not find the best deals

December 22, 2014

Retail shoppers have showed signs of procrastination this year, choosing to wait until just before Christmas to make purchases.

Retail shoppers have showed signs of procrastination this year, choosing to wait until just before Christmas to make purchases.

Extended discount periods have caused shoppers to procrastinate
The Associated Press reported that sales data indicated procrastinators will save the holiday shopping season by making last minute purchases. Sales were up 1.8 percent in December compared to the same period last year. The National Retail Federation, the country’s largest retail trade group, also expects sales for the entire season to up by 4.1 season, amounting to approximately $616.9 billion.
Retailers often try to entice shoppers during the holiday season by offering discounts and promotions as early as Halloween that carry through to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This year, it seems some retailers are extending those programs. Black Friday sales were not as strong as expected and it is assumed that shoppers took advantage of the extended promotions periods and store hours. Rishi Chhabra, First Data’s vice president of information and analytics said that analysts are waiting to see what happens in the final stretch of the year’s busiest sales period.

“The numbers are lower than what people expected them to be so it will be interesting to see what happens in the final days of the holiday shopping season,” said Chhabra, according to The Associated Press.

Fox News noted that just because retailers are trying to lure shoppers into stores does not mean that the best deals will be had during the last week of December. They also warned that items on shelves may not represent the highest quality items, adding that “bargain” items do not necessarily mean quality items.

The final push to close out the period with strong sales
Given that sales numbers were not as high as expected or desired, retailers are working to lure shoppers back into stores. Since extended promotion and discount periods have resulted in shopper procrastination, retailers will continue to keep those programs in place in order to help close out the season with a bang. Dennis May, CEO and president of Hhgregg Inc. explained that the company added a “buy more, save more” sales event in the end of December and also extended the cutoff date for online shoppers that pick up their purchases in-store. 

“I think the consumer is very savvy,” said May, according to The Associated Press. “They’re not shopping with abandon. They’re not throwing their budgets to the wind. “

Other retailers like Toys R Us, Kohl’s and Macy’s are keeping their stores open for 132 hours straight until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, which shows an extension of last year’s hours.

Fox News warned shoppers that while discounts and promotions are still in place, shopping right before Christmas gives the retailer the upper hand with regard to prices. Items may be slightly discounted, but they will not be at the lowest prices possible, especially if the retailer has already had strong fourth quarter sales.

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