Super Saturday Shoppers Outpacing Black Friday

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Holiday Shopping Death Watch
Damian Dovarganes/AP
By Kate Rogers

It's the final countdown for holiday retailers, as shoppers visit big box retail stores and malls for last-minute items as the clock has run out on shipping and online options.

A big part of this trend includes Super Saturday last-minute shopping, which was this past Dec. 20. Now data forecast Super Saturday sales -- once they're tallied -- will lap the other behemoth shopping day, Black Friday. Super Saturday is set to be the biggest shopping day this year, according to ShopperTrak, which analyzes retail industry data. It forecast the day will bring in $10 billion in sales nationwide -- and for the first time in a decade -- top Black Friday's sales forecast of $9.1 billion.

Sales nowadays seem perpetual, and push many shoppers to wait for last-minute deals. That makes Black Friday's retail punch less powerful than it has been in the past. Deals now begin before the Thanksgiving holiday and extend well into the last weekend before Christmas, says Thom Blischok, chief retail analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Strategy& division. "Black Friday itself its being stretched more and more so that physical day is less and less important," Blischok said.

Black Friday Shopping Is Down

Data from the National Retail Federation, an industry group, also show a decline in Black Friday shopping over the past three years. Black Friday spending was $50.9 billion for this year, down 13.9 percent from $59.1 billion spent in 2012. NRF's survey data are based on sales from Thanksgiving Day to the Sunday after the holiday, essentially four days. The group does not track Super Saturday sales. ShopperTrak data also show a decline in Black Friday sales with single-day sales projected to be $9.1 billion for this year, which is down 18.8 percent from $11.2 billion on Black Friday in 2012.

Last-minute shopping also should get a boost from lower energy prices. Gasoline prices continue to fall, and there's a general feeling the economy is improving, which could translate to more spending, says Ramesh Swamy, retail advisor with Deloitte, a trend he expects to see continued throughout this week.

"Because of low gas prices, a stock market that is back up, you see a lot of people broadening their gift basket and buying for people they wouldn't normally buy for," Swamy said.

And according to recent Nielsen data, 39 percent of respondents said they have more money to spend during the holidays because of savings from lower gasoline prices. And expect to see a lot more men, roaming stores over this home stretch of shopping, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for retail at The NPD Group, a trend several analysts articulated to CNBC.

Men tend to procrastinate a bit more -- making perfumes, cosmetics and apparel hot, last-minute buys. And the emphasis is on purchasing more small items versus big-ticket purchases. "Super Saturday is typically for the guy who is a bit older with no clue what he wants to get -- there's more men out there than women," Cohen said.
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