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ICYMI: Holidays Enter The Home Stretch

Updated! Now that all the gifts are unwrapped and stockings unstuffed, retailers and their customers have entered the last leg of the holiday season.

That’s the period between now and New Year’s when shoppers are back, returning presents and using gift cards to buy new ones at post-holiday mark-down prices.

According to the latest Shoppers Trend Report from consumer couponing site RetailMeNot, 67 percent of consumers intend to shop the end-of-the-year sales and plan to spend an average of $270 during this time.

As noted, the biggest motivators for consumers to shop the post-holiday period are retail discounts and offers, and the gift cards received as a holiday gifts. Specifically, 60 percent are motivated to shop by low prices, while nearly the same percentage (57 percent) would be persuaded to shop by great deals.

Gift cards also encourage Americans to shop end-of-the-year sales, with nearly 38 percent planning to redeem a gift card or certificate they received as a holiday present.

The findings jibe with a separate study commissioned by Best Buy, which found that 40 percent of consumers — including 51 percent of parents and 75 percent of people between 18 and 34 — postpone gift giving for themselves and others until after the holidays to cash in on deals and redeem gift cards.

To encourage that behavior at its stores and website, Best Buy has launched an after-Christmas sale with up to 30 percent off select tech items, up to 50 percent off open-box, clearance and other products, and extended store hours. This week’s deals include:

*$100 off Apple Watch;

*$125 off iPad Air 2;

*up to $300 off select MacBooks; and

*up to 20 percent off select HDTVs.

Among other motivators cited by RetailMeNot’s respondents:

*26 percent are ready to shop for themselves after a season of shopping for others;

*25 percent take advantage of a retailer’s coupon;

*21 percent didn’t receive the gift they wanted; and

*19 percent want to redeem a rebate.

Of those who received a gift card during the winter holidays, 28 percent plan to use it sometime in December and 43 percent will wait until January.

Gift cards themselves are the preferred last-minute gift, favored by 67 percent, although 23 percent have re-gifted one to someone else, and 14 percent have let them go unused.

As for returns, 33 percent of consumers typically bring or send back a holiday gift, and most return 20 percent of their gifts on average.