Consumer Reports Poll: Thirty-six Percent of Americans Haven't Started Holiday Shopping

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Fewer shoppers are stressed, worried about overspending

It’s difficult to identify exactly why there are so many procrastinators.

With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, 36 percent of Americans have yet purchase a single holiday gift, according to a new Consumer Reports poll. That’s up 6 percentage points from those who hadn’t begun their shopping as of early December last year.    

“It’s difficult to identify exactly why there are so many procrastinators. While bargain-conscious shoppers may be lusting for last-minute blockbuster deals, our poll reveals that people are of two minds when it comes to pocketbook issues during the holidays,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior projects editor and resident shopping expert.

On the flip side, of those who have begun their shopping, 34 percent are least a quarter of the way finished, 20 percent are halfway done, 29 percent have completed three-quarters of their holiday shopping, and 16 percent are finished altogether.

Despite the higher number of procrastinators, Americans don’t appear to be feeling much holiday-related stress. Seventy-three percent say they have things under control and will be ready for the holidays, up from 65 percent who said the same last year. Just 27 percent reported feeling at least somewhat stressed. When asked to choose what was causing the most stress, these were some of the results:

  •     Not having enough money for all the expected expenses (46 percent)
  •     Not having enough energy to get everything done (13 percent)
  •     Not having enough time to buy holiday gifts (12 percent)
  •     Trying to figure out good gifts to give (12 percent)
  •     Having to entertain certain family members or in-laws you’d rather not (7 percent)
  •     Traveling over the holidays (3 percent)
  •     Too many holiday parties to attend (1 percent)

While money is a key source of holiday stress, only 28 percent of shoppers overall are concerned about overspending this season, which is down sharply from the 44 percent who said the same last year. Nearly half are not concerned at all about spending too lavishly this year.

Consumer Reports 2015 Holiday Polls are a series of nationally representative surveys designed to measure consumer sentiment and shopping behavior during the holiday season. Additional results from the Consumer Reports poll can be found at

Consumer Reports Poll Methodology:
The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the 2015 winter holiday season. In December 2015, ORC International administered the survey via phone to a nationally representative sample of over 1300 randomly selected adult U.S. residents; 80% will be shopping this holiday season. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is +/- 3.0% points at the 95% confidence level. Fifty-two percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 45 years old.

About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization working to improve the lives of consumers by driving marketplace change. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other issues. The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in food. Consumer Reports tests and rates thousands of products and services in its 50-plus labs, state-of-the-art auto test center and consumer research center. Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, works for pro-consumer laws and regulations in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. With more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications, Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, payment or other support from the companies whose products it evaluates.

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© 2015 Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®,® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

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