Still checking those lists
Many holiday shoppers still looking to buy one week before Christmas.
DICKSON CITY — While gift buyers enter the final frenzied days before Christmas, Dana Fezuk and her husband, Brendan, can stay cool.
They already finished their Christmas shopping.
“We’re actually done,” Mrs. Fezuk said triumphantly at a bustling Viewmont Mall on Sunday, where they shopped not for gifts, but for themselves.
“We’re only here to get our Christmas outfits,” she said.
They needed something classy for church on Christmas Eve, and some ugly sweaters for the next morning.
Having started a meticulously -planned shopping regimen around the beginning of November, the Fezuks join an exclusive group.
Only 10 percent of shoppers nationwide have crossed everything off their lists, according to survey
results published Friday by the National Retail Federation.
The average shopper has completed only 52.5 percent of his or her buying, the NRF said. That’s 1 percent less shopping completed compared to last year.
Although he considers himself a methodical shopper, Mike Dranchak of Taylor pushes off some gift-buying to the very last minute. On Sunday, as he left the Viewmont Mall with pal Kody Pasqualichio of Clarks Summit after buying a few gifts for his mother and girlfriend, he said calmly that panic had not yet set in.
“I’ll probably be scrambling (later this week),” he said.
About 12 percent of shoppers say they’ll wait until Friday, Dec. 23, to purchase their last gift, according to the NRF and survey partner Prosper Insights & Analytics. The NRF completed the survey ahead of Super Saturday, Dec. 17, when it said
an anticipated 66 percent of Americans, or 155.7 million people, planned to hunt deals for gift-buying holdouts.
More than half, about 52 percent of last-minute shoppers, said they’d buy online; 42 percent said they’d hit the department stores. Also, 14 percent said they’d shop at an independent retailer, the NRF said.
As a rainy morning gave way, a steady stream of shoppers perused Amendolaro gift shop in Scranton on Sunday afternoon, picking up boutique jewelry like popular Moonglow and Montraband jewelry, and Alex & Ani charm bracelets.
Owner Justin Amendolaro knows that a small gift shop with limited downtown parking might have less appeal than big-box stores, so he’s been devising novel ways to draw customers.
As he spoke, a clerk hurried past toward the front door to a customer waiting out at the curb. He’s offered curbside service for about a year, he said, allowing customers to call in their purchase and pay ahead by credit card or with cash upon arrival for those who would rather not fight for parking on the street.
With two small gift bags in hand, Ed and Kim Gush of Scranton left Amendolaro a little closer to completing their lists.
“I have three more gifts to buy,” Mrs. Gush said after thinking for a moment.
They started on Black Friday together, hitting the stores both on Thanksgiving when they first opened and then the next day.
Mr. Gush admitted he typically avoids the retail scene, “but it was fun, in a sense, because I got a chance to be with her,” he said. “That meant a lot.”
When it comes to shopper confidence, the NRF/Prosper survey showed millennials feel notably better about buying gifts.
“Although they tend to be (the) most conservative holiday spenders, nearly half of those 18 to 24 say they are planning to spend more this year compared to last, significantly higher than their older counterparts,” Prosper analyst Pam Goodfellow said.
Mr. Pasqualichio, a recent college graduate, said now that he’s employed, he’s thrilled to buy gifts for his parents.
“Instead of, like, having them pick out gifts for me to give to other people, I can actually afford it now to give to others,” he said.