By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com staff writer
According to the 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), 23 million consumers, or 10.8 percent of shoppers, are estimated to have completely finished their holiday shopping.
But more troubling for retailers are the 33 million consumers, or 15.4 percent of shoppers, who admitted they haven't gotten cracking yet. The trend to procrastinate doesn't bode well for merchants. The November-December shopping season fuels as much as 50 percent of sales and profits at many chains.
Or perhaps you have chosen to sell your gift cards this week only at 20% off -- a $20 gift card costs the customer just $16, but is still redeemable for $20. This is a great idea, but here's the kicker: make them redeemable only after Christmas, that way they cannot be used to buy holiday gifts. Something like 80% of gift cards are redeemed for more than face value and 40% are redeemed for twice the face value. And approximately 18% are never redeemed -- you can't lose!