How to Win the Last-Minute Holiday Rush

Author: RetailMeNot

December 14, 2018


This post was contributed and sponsored by RetailMeNot.


Thanks to optimistic shoppers who are ready to spend, the 2018 holiday shopping season has already been a success for retailers—and, in some cases, even a record-setter. And there's still one more week to go. Here's what to expect during the final push:

Top Shopping Days Lie Ahead

Although a survey by RetailMeNot found many shoppers getting an early start on picking up gifts this holiday season, there will still be plenty of buying under way this week, both in stores and online. Monday, Dec. 17 is projected to be one of the top desktop shopping days of the season, and this Saturday, Dec. 22 should be one of the busiest days on mobile. It's also worth noting that holiday shoppers plan to head to a physical store at least once per week, on average, in December.

What will be on the lists of last-minute gift shoppers? Books and news, health and beauty, gifts, accessories and designer clothing are top categories this week and promotions can help deliver the biggest impact.

Shipping Battles Heat Up

Related Links

2018 Holiday Hub

Find out when, where and how consumers will be shopping and what retailers can do to win the attention of shoppers everywhere. Check out the complete guide from RetailMeNot.

Free shipping is a big deal to shoppers. In the RetailMeNot survey, 61% of consumers said they would not buy an item online without free shipping. Additionally, 64% said free shipping makes them likely to spend more with a particular retailer during the holiday season.

Retailers are paying attention to shoppers' expectations. Target, for example, is now giving free, two-day shipping on orders through Dec. 22, which is comparable with Amazon Prime's delivery policy. After Target's announcement, Amazon sweetened its own free shipping options for non-Prime members—albeit with longer delivery times than Target's.

Consumers who need to buy gifts after Dec. 22 can still take advantage of the ease of online shopping, though. That's thanks to the rise of buy online, pick up in-store options. At Walmart, for example, shoppers can order some items online as late as 4 p.m. local time on Dec. 23, and pick them up as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Consumers who need to buy gifts after Dec. 22 can still take advantage of the ease of online shopping, though. That's thanks to the rise of buy online, pick up in-store options. At Walmart, for example, shoppers can order some items online as late as 4 p.m. local time on Dec. 23, and pick them up as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.


Look Beyond Christmas

Christmas Day doesn't mean the holiday shopping season is over. Two of this season's busiest shopping days will fall after Christmas: Dec. 26 and Dec. 29.

During the week after Christmas, many consumers are off work and looking to return or exchange items that they received, in addition to purchasing items from their wish lists that they didn’t receive. Traditionally, this week is strong and provides retailers one last chance to clear the shelves before restocking for 2019.

What will these post-holiday shoppers be looking for? According to RetailMeNot data, the top categories for Dec. 26-Dec. 31 are personal finance, travel and automotive, health and beauty, food and entertainment, and clothing and shoes.

For more insights on holiday 2018 shopping, visit the RetailMeNot Holiday Hub.