More than 158 million consumers are expected to shop this coming Super Saturday, on the last full weekend before Christmas Day, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s 10 million more than what the NRF expected at this point last year, and the most since the group began tracking in 2016.
Consumers said they completed half of their holiday shopping in early December, and 47% planned to finish up online, 37% at department stores, 27% at discounters, 24% at clothing and accessories stores, and 19% at grocers. About the same number plan to shop online and in person, with 72.2 million (46%) planing to do both.
The top gifts so far are clothing (50%), toys (34%), gift cards (28%), books and other media (26%), and food or candy (23%). Giving experiences — like concert or sporting event tickets, gym memberships or art classes — is up 23% from last year, with 28% planning that.
After pushing to begin the holiday season early, retailers still have a ways to go.
Last week, Nordstrom and Macy’s executives said they have noticed that holiday shoppers seemed to be holding off on making purchases this year, with Nordstrom CEO Erik Nordstrom speculating that could be in part because there are extra weekend shopping days before Christmas Day and the end of Hanukkah.
But consumers “have been shopping in record numbers this year,” according to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. The organization defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast “healthy” year-over-year sales growth of between 6% and 8%, to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.
“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,” Shay said in a statement.
Reverting to a pre-pandemic norm, the season is expected to extend beyond that for 70% of holiday shoppers, according to NRF’s research, conducted in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“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,” Phil Rist, Prosper executive vice president of strategy, said in a statement.