A Portrait of This Season’s Holiday Shoppers, by the Numbers

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As we enter the final stretch of the holiday shopping season, a picture emerges of today’s consumers. Among other things, the stats show that we’re buying more online, we’re buying more for ourselves, we’re using credit cards less, we’d be willing to shop in our underwear if it meant avoiding long lines at cash registers, and, perhaps surprisingly, by and large we’re still shopping at the mall. Also: A little over 23 million of us are procrastinators who feel the need to pick up last-minute gifts on December 24.

Here’s a roundup of stats concerning today’s holiday shoppers:

14 Percentage increase in online shopping dollars spent the week ending December 17, which just so happened to be Free Shipping Day. Overall, per comScore, $5.5 billion in merchandise was sold online during what was the busiest e-retailing week ever. Free shipping offers had to have played a role here: 52.7% of online orders came with free shipping, compared to 40.6% of orders placed in the corresponding week in 2009.

17 Percentage of consumers who used credit cards to pay for purchases over Thanksgiving weekend, the lowest rate in nearly three decades

18 Percentage of consumers who say they’re shopping in dollar stores for food and drink for holiday festivities

20 Percentage of consumers who haven’t even begun their holiday shopping yet (as of December 22)

23.1 Number, in millions, of American consumers—15% of the population aged 16 and up—who plan on shopping on Christmas Eve; 18% of men and 19% of women also say they’re going to go shopping the day after Christmas

31 Percentage of Americans who say they that this holiday season, they feel worse off financially than they did during the holidays of 2009, according to a Consumer Reports poll
35 Percentage of shoppers who bought something for themselves over Thanksgiving weekend, a higher rate than experts expected

37 Estimated percentage of consumers who said they’d planned on purchasing merchandise online on December 17, in order to save money with free shipping

40 Percentage of people who said in a recent survey that they’d go holiday shopping in their underwear if doing so meant they could avoid long lines

41 Percentage of consumers who say they’ve been shopping at discount outlets for holiday gifts, up from an estimated 29% last year

52 Percentage of retail sales that still take place at malls, down only slightly from the 1990s, when 55% of retail sales were done at shopping centers

60 Rough percentage of consumers who are using cell phones to help them shop this holiday season

72 Percentage of malls that say most gift cards are redeemed in January
77 Percentage of shoppers who will buy at least one gift card this holiday season, with the average consumer spending $145.61 on gift cards, up from $139.91 last year; I’m not a fan of gift cards for reasons laid out here and again here, but clearly I’m getting overruled based on how popular these plastic gifts continue to be

679 Amount, in dollars, that the average shopper is spending this holiday season, down $20 from last year

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