By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Millions of American consumers are expected to shop Super Saturday this weekend, the last Saturday before Christmas that marks the end of the holiday shopping season.
Mired with record inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and the coronavirus pandemic, consumers started shopping early before the official holiday kickoff on Nov. 1.
This was most evident in October retail sales, which was 1.7% higher than the previous month, climbing to $638.2 billion, according to the Commerce Department.
The pace of retail sales later slowed in November, up only 0.3% from the previous month, to reach $639.8 billion last month, data showed.
Now, many consumers have the last chance to wrap up their holiday shopping, while retailers have a final opportunity to unload inventory to meet last-minute shopper demand.
More than 148 million consumers in the US are expected to shop Super Saturday, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Some estimates point to as many as 200 million hitting physical and online stores on Saturday, according to a survey of trade association the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
"Retailers began preparations for the holiday season months in advance, offering seasonal inventory early and taking preventative measures to circumvent supply chain challenges exacerbated by the pandemic," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "Consumers have responded with a growing eagerness to kick off the holiday shopping season early, and they expect to carry that momentum through the last few weeks of the year.”
The NRF said consumers planned to spend an average of $997.73 on holiday purchases but as of early December, they had completed 52% of their shopping.
Yet, a record 42% are planning to purchase last-minute gifts before Dec. 18, it said, adding 52% expect to pick up gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.
ICSC estimates 86% of adults are planning to shop and spend on gifts during the next two weeks.
The trade association said 35% of consumers believe shopping during the final days leading up to Christmas is to take advantage of retail promotions, according to its survey.
However, 67% of shoppers think last-minute purchases will mostly depend on what they can find on shelves and buy immediately, the survey showed, which was conducted online from Dec. 10 - 12 with 1,010 respondents.
As for after Christmas, until New Year’s Eve, NRF said its survey found 65% of shoppers plan to shop during that period.
The NRF said 42% of respondents said they want to take advantage of deals and promotions, according to its survey conducted between Nov. 24 - Dec. 3 based on 7,453 consumers.
The federation noted that almost 180 million American consumers shopped during the five-day shopping period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday in November.