12 days to Christmas, 10 days to procrastinate

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Extreme holiday shopping procrastinators are getting a lucky break this year.

More retailers are extending the dates they are offering free and expedited shipping promotions — some all the way to Dec. 23.

According to Shop.org’s eHoliday Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 87 percent of retailers’ standard shipping deadlines for Christmas delivery will expire before or on Dec. 20.

Shoppers will have the added advantage of shopping online as late as Dec. 23 as 5.3 percent of retailers say they will offer upgraded expedited shipping promotions up through that date.

“Retailers will continue to update their  websites and best utilize their mobile apps to attract those who still need to wrap up their holiday shopping in the coming weeks,” said Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org executive director  “As consumers shop around for the perfect gifts, express and standard free shipping offers could be the deciding factor for many procrastinators this holiday season.”

The survey found 94.6 percent of retailers’ free standard shipping promotions will expire on or before Dec. 20.  For those who miss the free standard shipping deadlines, there will still be plenty of expedited shipping offers from select retailers, Cantrell said.

According to the survey, extreme procrastinators will have until Dec. 22 when 86.4 percent of companies’ free expedited shipping promotions expire.

Another 22 percent of digital retailers will offer express two-day shipping options for guaranteed Christmas delivery through Dec. 22, and 30 percent will offer overnight express shipping  through Dec. 23 for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, 92.5 percent of retailers will offer free shipping at some point during the holiday season, and more than half say their budget for free shipping promotions specifically is somewhat or significantly higher than last year.

Free shipping does matter, the survey results show,  as more than 36 percent of holiday shoppers say they are likely to spend more online this holiday season if shipping comes free.

“As Christmas Day draws near, those with gifts yet to buy – and budgets to manage – will find that free shipping offers with guaranteed delivery will be hard to pass up,” said Pam Goodfellow, BIGresearch consumer insights director. “Many last minute shoppers will seek out deals through various channels, including coupon websites, special emails from retailers as well as weekend circulars and advertisements.”

Shop.org’s website, CyberMonday.com, maintains a free shipping section with a list of retailers still offering the popular promotions for delivery by Christmas.