Consumer Reports Poll: With Five Days Left, 132 Million Americans Have Not Finished Their Holiday Shopping

Dec 20, 2012, 06:00 ET from Consumer Reports

17 Million Plan to Hit Stores on Christmas Eve

$340 is the Average Amount Shoppers have Spent Thus Far

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With just five shopping days left until Christmas, a whopping 68 percent of shoppers – a projected 132 million Americans – have yet to finish their gift shopping, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. Seventeen million are estimated to hit stores on Christmas Eve.

The full results of the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll can be found at

"We found in a previous poll that 20 percent of Americans dread shopping for gifts, which could explain why there are so many procrastinators this year," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. "Those who haven't finished shopping can expect crowded stores – including on Christmas Eve."

When asked which gift they were most likely to grab at the last-minute, 62 percent of shoppers said they would go with a gift card or gift certificate, 27 percent would opt for cold hard cash, while 15 percent would go with booze. Lottery tickets and candy would be a last-minute choice for 12 percent respectively, while 4 percent would issue an IOU or gift-to-be-determined. 

The Consumer Reports Holiday Poll also revealed who holiday shoppers would most likely leave-off their gift list if they ran out of money or time to shop. Thirty-one percent said service providers would be chopped from their list, making them the most likely to be overlooked. But 14 percent of married shoppers said their spouse/partner would most likely not receive a gift, an option that was embraced by twice as many women (18 percent) than men (9 percent). Others most likely not to get gifts with time or money running short include co-workers, the family pet, an extended family member and the boss. 

Even though some might not buy their spouse/partner a gift, 98 percent of Americans are looking forward to spending time with their spouse/partner this holiday season – including 88 percent who are looking forward "a lot." Who in their family are Americans not crazy about seeing? Extended family members like an aunt, uncle or cousin topped the list.  Thirty-three percent are not at all thrilled about seeing their step-parents, and 22 percent could do without spending time with their siblings.

Thus far shoppers have spent a median of $340 on holiday gifts this season, which is 70 percent of the $483 total they told Consumer Reports they planned to spend on-average this year in a previous poll. And more Americans said that their shopping experience this year has been pleasant (41 percent) or fun (18 percent) than rushed (14 percent), nerve-wracking (9 percent) or disappointing (6 percent).

These results are similar to a light-hearted holiday poll conducted in-person at the Consumer Reports booth at the Holiday Market in Union Square, New York City, where 55 percent of respondents have described their holiday shopping experience as "nice," rather than "naughty" (45 percent).

When asked who topped the list of worst gift-givers, 30 percent of those surveyed said their extended family members. Co-workers, in-laws and friends were also identified as most likely to give lousy gifts.

Consumer Reports Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the upcoming 2012 winter holiday season. Between December 10th and 17th 2012, GfK Custom Research administered the survey online to a nationally representative sample of 1,110 randomly selected adult U.S. residents who said they were planning to shop for the holidays. The respondents to this poll also completed our two earlier holiday polls.  The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is +/- 3.9% points at the 99% confidence level. Fifty-four percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 46 years old.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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SOURCE Consumer Reports