Out-of-stock anxiety and shipping delays won’t stop people from last-minute shopping this year

By Zlati Meyer

December 15, 2021

If you look at a calendar and think, “Aw, it’s not even Christmas week yet. I’ve got plenty of time to shop,” you’re not alone.

A new RetailMeNot survey finds that 74% of consumers plan to do some last-minute shopping this year and 57% expect to do exactly that when it comes to buying gift cards.

During the busiest shopping time of the year—and during a year when supply-chain issues have plagued global retail—this might not be the smartest way to go about filling those wrapping-paper- and ribbon-bedecked boxes.

Perhaps that’s what’s informing shoppers’ willingness to compromise. The poll reveals that 68% say they have flexible shopping lists and 46% report they’ll be willing to buy things they hadn’t planned to if they can’t find what they’d hoped to purchase. Plus, 34% plan to try new brands and retailers as they scout.

And people know that switching it up this holiday season is a very real possibility—and not just for the people who embrace procrastination as a shopping strategy,

According to RetailMeNot’s research, respondents point to products being out of stock as their number one stress factor; 45% said it was their top anxiety-inducing problem.

Meanwhile, shoppers are anticipating delivery and shipping delays (55%), product shortages (53%), and more expensive products (42%), but none of that is deterring the shop-til-you-drop crowd.

Some of best deals to be had come around after Christmas, when retailers are looking to move out unsold merchandise post-holiday or when returned merchandise comes pouring in from unsatisfied gift recipients. Perhaps that’s why RetailMeNot’s poll says 51% of consumers plan to shop on December 26.