According to the latest Consumer Reports poll, just 15 percent of shoppers finish buying holiday gifts by early December. Over a quarter expect to continue shopping until December 23 or later, including 10 percent who expect to finish on Christmas Eve, and 5 percent who don't expect to finish until after the holidays. If you fall into this category, it's hardly "last minute" for you, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of these tips.
- Check return policies. Although it seems like a no brainer, 46 percent of shoppers who buy in- stores actually don’t bother to check the retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Add the stress of last minute shopping to the mix and consumers may end up with an unwanted item that may be difficult to return.
- Get a gift receipt. Some retailers may implement more lenient return-policies during the holiday season; other merchants won’t accept returns without a receipt. More than half of shoppers reported that they typically don’t give a gift receipt with their presents.
- Be wary of instant credit. Some shoppers may be enticed by savings offered by opening a store charge card, but most aren’t inclined to bite on these offers. Only seven percent of Americans reported that they did so last year to save on purchases.