Less well known than their co-titled cousins Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the last Saturday before Christmas Eve is nonetheless a major holiday shopping day and has earned the moniker Super Saturday due to its importance to American retailers.
Another very silly handle for this particular day of sales frenzy, which aims to reflect the vibe of shoppers who have left their inventory languishing, is Panic Saturday.
This year’s Super Saturday saw huge amounts of active buyers in the real world and digital ether, although the volumes were low or slightly lower compared to the same day last year or the pre-pandemic edition of 2019.
While the National Retail Foundation predicted that Big Saturday would see 158 million people doing some kind of shopping activity, a post-facto survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers estimated that the number was closer to 189 million on December 17.
And a surprisingly large portion of those shoppers, about 70%, shopped in person rather than online.
“Shoppers tend to hit the stores on Super Saturday, looking for the best deals and making sure they get their gifts in time before the holidays,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, in a paper accompanying the survey results. “While inflation and price concerns continue to affect where and how consumers buy gifts, they still spend, especially in stores.
“We expect last-minute shopping to continue this week and expect a strong end to the holiday season.”
Other highlights from the ICSC survey include:
- Overall, 90% of shoppers said inflation had an impact on their Super Saturday shopping.
- Consumers identified low prices (51%), products in stock (46%), and ease of checkout (36%) as the main factors in choosing where to shop.
- Half of consumers took advantage of online shopping and in-store pickup.
- The majority (54%) of consumers noted that they spent more money than they had planned.
- The majority (56%) used debit cards, 47% used credit cards, and 46% used cash.
Industry analysts say the calendar played a role in how Super Saturday store prices played out this year, with eight days to go before Christmas. But the same features may also provide a rare boost to retailers ahead of the holiday, with a “bonus” shopping Saturday that falls on Christmas Eve.
Brick-and-mortar shopping traffic is likely to get a boost on this year’s Super Saturday due to consumer concerns that online shopping may not perform during the gift-giving season, according to Peter McCall, senior manager of retail consultancy, Sensormatic Solutions.
“For the past five years, Super Saturday is the second busiest shopping day in the US, behind Black Friday,” McCall told the Associated Press. “There were only three Saturdays in December before Christmas Day this year. As we expected, Super Saturday remains a big part of consumers’ holiday shopping plans to catch last-minute items with shopping issues delaying the arrival of online orders during the holiday season.”
Overall, economists expect the 2022 holiday shopping season to see some growth but not nearly at the same pace as the past few years.
Wells Fargo economist Shannon Seery, co-author of the bank’s holiday spending report released in October, said a strong consumer spending trend will carry into the 2022 holiday season and overall sales will pick up in 2021. But Seery noted that after adjusting for inflation. increase, that bump will be much smaller than the record-setting growth that U.S. retailers have seen in the past two years.
“We expect to see a 6% annual increase in holiday spending,” Seery said. “But most of that will be driven by price increases. The increase in holiday sales, in real terms, will be closer to 2%.
Seery and his co-authors found that, looking back over the past 28 years, the two largest annual increases in holiday sales occurred in the last two years.
Adobe Digital Insights also released a holiday shopping forecast report for October, but this one focused on forecasting holiday internet usage.
Adobe analysts predict online retail sales growth during the holiday season will slow as overall inflation dampens consumer spending. They predict that online holiday sales will increase by 2.5% this year and reach about $210 billion, but previously noted discounts and cash-in-hand spending could lead to a slight decline, about 2%, compared to 2021 online spending. at the end of the year. holidays.
A pre-holiday poll by the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics found that most Utahns plan to spend the same or more on holiday gifts as they did last year, even as most worry about rising inflation and the possibility of a looming recession. .
A statewide poll of 801 registered Utah voters found 43% of respondents plan to spend about what they did last year on holiday gifts, and 11% will be adding to their holiday budget. Budget cuts are expected in 44% of poll participants, and 2% said they were undecided or didn’t know how their holiday shopping budget would change.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones and Associates on Oct. 3-6 and the results come with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 points.