Long live the procrastinators.
Consumers are spending more of their holiday budgets closer to Christmas Day, and fewer shoppers are waiting in line for Black Friday doorbusters, according to a report from Cardlytics, a purchase-based data intelligence platform.
The report incorporates transaction history data from millions of U.S. consumers to provide retailers with insights as they prepare for a hotly competitive selling season.
The report found that U.S. consumers are procrastinating more than ever with their holiday shopping — and they represent the largest shopper segment. In the final week before Christmas 2014, consumers spent 12.2 percent more overall and 26.6 percent more online when compared to the same week in 2013. This is especially meaningful since the 2014 holiday season as a whole dipped by 0.6 percent.
Another key finding is that Black Friday 2014 fell in share of holiday spend by 0.8 percentage points compared to Black Friday 2013, and the two weeks following Black Friday decreased in share of holiday spend. Cardlytics found that as more shoppers left their gift-hunting to the last minute, retailers faced greater pressure to drive sales beyond Black Friday and into the all-important final week, which increased by 2 percentage points last year.
The report revealed that e-commerce share of the holiday spend increased from 16.6 percent in 2013 to 17.7 percent in 2014. Like their in-store counterparts, online shoppers followed a similar pattern of making last-minute purchases.
The 26.6 percent increase in online sales leading up to Christmas 2014 was attributed to online retailers having more aggressive cyber sales extending from Black Friday through Christmas Day and more reliable shipping and delivery guarantees.
According to the report, shoppers are divided into four distinct groups: Early Birds who shop Oct. 30 to Nov. 19 (17 percent); Black Friday Deal Hunters who shop Nov. 20 to Dec. 10 (26 percent); Last-Minute Shoppers who shop from Dec. 11 to Dec. 31, (36 percent) and Slow and Steady Shoppers who shop consistently across all three periods (21 percent).
- Early Birds spend $75 per transaction, and the highest dollar amount per sale compared to the other three categories, the report said.
- Black Friday Deal Hunters wait for doorbuster promotions knowing that retailers put out their biggest deals around Thanksgiving. Although the numbers are shrinking, the report showed that retailers should continue their Black Friday campaigns, since $1 out of $3 dollars (34.4 percent) is spent across all shopper profiles in the week before, during and after Black Friday. Consequently, there are still a substantial number of customers seeking deals. Their average transaction size is $67.95.
- Last-Minute Shoppers are the fastest-growing category, with 36 percent of them contributing to 34 percent of overall spend close to Christmas. This customer spends $64.34 per transaction, and as a group has the highest percentage of spend and trips of all four profiles.
- Slow and Steady Shoppers have the smallest transaction per trip, but make many more regular trips throughout the holiday season. The report noted that Slow and Steady Shoppers purchase at the widest variety of retailers, which suggests patient comparison shopping and a willingness to buy new brands and categories. They spend $58.18 per transaction.
In comparison, late-season shoppers spend on average a total of $1,361.51 and make 21.1 trips. By contrast, early season shoppers spend an average of $1,269.24 and make 17 trips.