Procrastinators abound as holiday shopping season winds down


It is probably too late for broadcast sales teams to make a whole lot of hay out of the situation, but two different  surveys are out claiming that even as the big day for most holiday celebrants — 12/25/11 – is less than a week away, about a quarter of all those planning to buy gifts haven’t even started.

These surveys are not the type we often see that can almost be ascribed to the wishful thinking of a company with something to sell. Far from it, they come from respected and well-known names that have no stake in selling anything at all – we’re talking Consumer Reports and Rasmussen Reports.

“We’ve known from early on that consumers were very concerned with their finances this holiday season, and it’s clearly caused many Americans to delay even starting their shopping, ” said Tod Marks of CR. “However, last-minute shoppers should be mindful of spending more on gifts than they ordinarily would, which many respondents of this poll said they were likely to do.”

CR said that 54% of the procrastinators were worried about cash; 41% said they have plenty of time and 29% admitted they were procrastinating. It does look like a sizable number of this group will be taking the easy way out – 45% will be giving gift cards and 21% will give cash. Food (9%) and wine/liquor (7%) are ranked among the top planned gifting categories.

Rasmussen didn’t delve into whys and wherefores to the same degree as CR, but it did agree with the basic premise that a quarter of Americans haven’t even started shopping yet – it pegged the number at 26%. The pollster noted that many have wrapped up their shopping operations, but in all, 57% have more to do.

RBR-TVBR observation: If you can still persuade merchants to buy some last minute ads, more power to you! However, the ultimate usefulness of this information is probably to tuck it away for next year, as a crowbar to persuade advertisers of the importance of maintaining their air presence right up to the very last minute.