Last minute online shopping: where to go

Posted by Rurik Bradbury on December 22, 2015

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Still have more (or all) of your holiday shopping to do? Don’t panic! Here’s a guide to planning those last-minute orders according to each retailer’s cutoff time, so you can check everything off your list without having to give a card with “IOU one present” scrawled on it. If you really want to tempt fate, and you’re willing to pay extra (charges range from $11.99-$43.04) you can avoid the crowds and wait until the 23rd for next-day delivery.

Last year, the 23rd and 24th were the two biggest days for spending, and this year, 9 out of 10 American consumers said they were planning to shop at the last minute. December accounts for 70% of retail’s biggest shopping days, both online and in physical stores.

By the 24th, you’ll be down to just two options for last-minute gifts: 1800 Flowers or Amazon Prime. In reality, it means that until about 9:30 on the 24th, you can still order pretty much anything and it will arrive before Santa does.  

Stores like Walmart, Target, Toys R Us and Best Buy will keep their physical locations open later on Christmas Eve, in case you’re not sure you should risk ordering quite this late. You can also do in-store pickup at most of the larger retailers.

You’re best off ordering by lunchtime (local time) if you want to make sure you get your orders by the 24th, and you’re definitely in the best position if you live on the east coast, since most of the cutoff times are EST. But it’s clear that Amazon Prime and the big box retailers have forced everyone else to up their game.