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A document variety of folks plan to buy the Saturday earlier than Christmas, based on a survey

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People look at the holiday decorations in the shop windows of the country store on Main Street in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on December 13, 2020.

Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images

There are still plenty of procrastinators this holiday season, according to a new survey, despite retailers from Target to Best Buy trying to encourage consumers to shop earlier than ever to avoid crowded stores and overcrowded warehouses in the final days before Christmas.

According to a poll released Thursday by the National Retail Federation, more than 150 million Americans plan to shop the last Saturday before Christmas, up from 147.8 million in 2019. NRF polled November 25 through December 4 in one Partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics 8,092 consumers.

The number of shoppers expected on the day known as "Super Saturday" includes those planning to shop in stores and buy online, NRF said. The trading group said this was the second highest number since NRF began collecting Super Saturday statistics in 2016. Last year, Super Saturday fell just four days before Christmas, but this year it's almost a week before the holidays .

The survey also found that 42% of people who plan to shop on Super Saturday this year only plan to do so online to avoid overcrowded malls and stores.

The fact that a record number of American consumers will use the coming weekend to complete gift purchases will put additional pressure on retailers and carriers like UPS and FedEx, who have already been weighed down by the spate of online orders during the pandemic.

And even with a few extra days between Super Saturday and Christmas this year, some consumers won't finish shopping for friends and family on time, which will last well into the New Year.

Sixty-six percent of vacation shoppers are likely to shop in the week immediately after Christmas, NRF found. These people mentioned the typical abundance of post vacation offers and wanted to use their gift cards as reasons for doing so.

Overall, the retail group predicts for this holiday season, which NRF defines as running from November 1 to December 31, that retail sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% compared to 2019 and reach USD 755.3 billion by 766 .7 billion USD.

Read the full publication of NRF's Super Saturday here.

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Steven Gregory