• With clock ticking, retailers and consumers prepare for a very big holiday shopping weekend

According to the National Retail Federation's latest holiday survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, as of Dec. 9, the average holiday shopper had completed half (49.9 percent) of their shopping, slightly less than the 56.5 percent they'd completed by this time last year, boding well for retailers who are preparing for a very big holiday shopping weekend. Specifically, 32 million or 14.0 percent say they have not even started, while another 20 million, or 8.9 percent say they are already finished.

"There's no question that the shortened holiday season has put both retailers and consumers in a rush to make the most out of the time that's left before the big day," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "With two of the most important shopping weekends in front of them, retailers will do their best to pull in those final dollars with unique offerings for their in-store, online and mobile shoppers; consumers will definitely be doing their homework before committing to any gift purchase, however, making it even more important for companies to compete on value, price and digital offerings."

"A late Thanksgiving that fell in place with Hanukkah, and the shorter season overall, make these last two weekends of utmost importance for all holiday shoppers," said Prosper's consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow. "Given the tremendous growth in online shopping this holiday season, retailers can expect to see much excitement around their multichannel offerings, especially free shipping deals that guarantee Christmas delivery — leaving much of the footwork out of it for busy Americans."

Although consumers still have items to check off their holiday gift lists, November retail sales numbers reveal that despite the shorter holiday season, retailers are still on track to meet NRF's holiday sales forecast of 3.9 percent growth.

The NRF 2013 holiday consumer spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,324 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics Dec. 5–9. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percentage points.

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