This holiday shopping season, the procrastinators are dominating.
Roughly 73 percent of consumers have yet to lay their shopping lists to rest, according to a survey released Monday by Visa Inc.
The survey, based on 1,007 phone interviews over the weekend, show that 16 percent of consumers have not bought a single gift.
This year's sluggish shopping is a slight improvement over 2011, when 77 percent of consumers still had shopping to do a week before Christmas and planned to spend on average, $278.
Procrastination isn't as much of a problem in the Midwest and South, where 69 percent of consumers still have gifts to buy, compared to 79 percent of westerners. Northeastern residents came in slightly behind the west, with 78 percent of consumers not having completed their holiday shopping.
The survey also found that men who wait until the last minute will outspend laggard women by an average of $399 to $218.
With shoppers dragging their feet -- in stores and online -- Visa officials are predicting that the days before Christmas are likely to be filled with "panic shopping," or overspending "to get a gift -- any gift -- in time for Christmas," according to Jason Alderman, Visa's senior director of global financial education.
To avoid this, Visa recommends budgeting for holiday shopping and spending no more than 1.5 percent of annual income on holiday expenses. That includes setting "micro-budgets" or spending limits on each individual you shop for. The company also suggested joining with family members to make a contribution to charity in lieu of holiday gifts.
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