For many U.S. men, it is all-or-nothing time for holiday shopping. Either they have already done all their shopping, or they have completed none of it, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.
Eighteen percent of all respondents said they had done no holiday shopping, unchanged from a survey the previous week. But more of the men were shopping laggards: 20.6 percent of them compared with 15.6 percent of women said they still had bought no gifts.
At the same time, men also were more likely than women to say that they had finished all of their holiday shopping - 29.5 percent versus 25.60 percent for women, according to the poll, which was conducted from Friday to Monday.
"Men tend to keep their list smaller and concise, as wives already took care of the majority of gifts," said Jharonne Martis, director of consumer research for Thomson Reuters.
"Every year, on the Super Saturday weekend before Christmas, I see men hit the malls, shopping last-minute, and asking other women around them what they think of what they're buying," Martis said.
FEWER MEALS OUT
Slightly more than half of the shoppers, 52 percent, said they planned to spend the same this year as last year. Sixteen percent said they would spend more, and 21 percent said they would spend less.
While 41 percent of shoppers said they planned to purchase gifts from a mix of stores, frugality ruled when it came to selecting a single retail category.
Discounters came out on top, with 32 percent of respondents saying they planned to do most of their shopping at chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Target Corp (TGT.N).
Such caution appears to extend to dining out. A whopping 70 percent of respondents disagreed when asked if they would be doing so more than usual this holiday season.
Forty-four percent of people in that group said they were cutting back on restaurant meals during the holiday season so they can afford gifts.
"Younger people are also far more likely than older people to say they are cutting back on eating out in order to afford to spend on gifts," said Julia Clark, vice president of Ipsos public affairs.
Sixty percent of 18-to-24-year-olds said they were cutting back on restaurant spending so they could buy gifts versus 34 percent of respondents over the age of 55, Clark said.
U.S. restaurants had a booming December last year due to unseasonably warm weather, so achieving gains in sales at established locations will be a challenge this month.
"Still, the timing of the Christmas holiday should benefit sales this year as it moves to a Tuesday from a Sunday and Christmas Eve transitions to a Monday from a Saturday," William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia said.
In a tradition-breaking move, McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) has urged its U.S. restaurant owners to stay open on Christmas Day - a move aimed at bolstering sales at the world's biggest hamburger chain, which is under increased pressure from revitalized rivals like Wendy's Co (WEN.O) and Burger King Worldwide Inc BKW.N.
The findings are from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters, with 1,469 American adults interviewed online.
Results are within the poll's credibility intervals, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polling. The credibility interval was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
The poll is the latest in a series that Ipsos will conduct during the holiday season.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Jan Paschal and Lisa Von Ahn)