Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

(Profile Facts) If you've still got gifts to buy for the holidays, you're far from alone.

About 75 percent of holiday shoppers say they'll do some last-minute shopping, according to a survey by pricegrabber.com. And the NPD Group says 32 percent plan to do all their shopping late.

AOL consumer adviser Regina Lewis stopped by The Early Show Thursday with helpful hints for all you shopping laggards.

She says most shoppers cite convenience as their primary consideration when making last-minute purchases.

The good news is that, even with just three days before Christmas, you can still shop online and have everything arrive in time for that holiday. Hanukkah begins Sunday night.

Bear in mind that today, Thursday, is the deadline set by many retailers for you to buy gifts that will get there before Santa does.

Lewis has some ideas for unique, clever last-minute gifts, and advice on where to shop online during this holiday homestretch.

APPAREL: Apparel and accessories are always the No. 1 seller from year to year. Frequently, you can find a greater variety of sizes and colors online than you can in the store, such as classic cotton sweaters at this link at Nordstrom.com.

So far this season, online apparel stores have drawn 17.1 million visits, a 38 percent increase from last year's 12.5 million.

iPods such as this one are hot gifts this year for kids, teens and adults. The price is $199 for the basic model. Many accessories are available, and you can still order online at places such as CircuitCity.com with rush shipping, though personalization such as colors and monogramming are most likely not available at this point.

Another option, if you want to cut the risk of the package not arriving for Christmas, is to buy it online and choose in-store pickup right through Christmas Eve.

The XM Satellite Radio receiver is another hot electronics item that's still available online and for in-store pickup. It retails for $149, and monthly service starts at $9.99 per month.

It's not too late to buy stocking stuffers such as DVDs and CDs online, at Amazon.com, but you must buy today (Thursday) and select rush delivery to receive it in time for Christmas.

Complete-season DVD sets of hot TV shows such as CSI are popular this holiday season. Mariah Carey's "Emancipation of Mimi" is a top seller.

Toys such as Dancing Elmo, which goes for $19.99, are the top searched-for play items this year on AOL.com, and you can still order them online in time for the holidays.

Another great choice. You can order from 1800flowers.com until noon on Christmas Eve for same-day delivery. This season's bestsellers are a floral arrangement, the Waterford Holiday Heirlooms Precious Present, priced at $49.99, and the Gourmet Hamper, which ranges in price from $59.99 to $199.99, depending on the size.

You can't go wrong with jewelry. It's one of the top gifts for last-minute shoppers. Forty-five percent of men admit to shopping last-minute, in the AOL Men/Women Shopping Survey of 2005, so they're likely the ones out buying the jewelry for their wives. And you can order some of the most popular and affordable styles, such as cuff bracelets, lockets, and colored pearls, right up through Dec. 23 at BlueNile.com.


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