The decorations, the family get-togethers, the ugly sweaters — these are the unmistakable signs that the holiday season is in full swing. But no December would be complete without the final mad-dash to buy gifts for loved ones on your list. And if you’re like me, you may have a gift or two (or ten) left to buy at the last minute.

No sweat — you aren’t alone. While people started searching on Google for gifts in mid-October, holiday shopping is far from finished. More than 60% of people are still shopping for gift ideas post-Cyber Monday (Google/Ipsos study), and as of yesterday, shoppers have 37% of their purchases to complete.

To help last-minute shopping procrastinators tick the remaining gifts off their lists, retailers have made it easy by crowning December 17 as “Free Shipping day” - or as we call it, Oh Ship! Day. We’re making it easier to find retailers that offer free shipping by allowing you to sort by items that have free shipping or are in-stock in stores nearby on Google Shopping. And retailers can also drive more last minute sales by promoting their free shipping offers across their online marketing campaigns, from search, display and video.

Here are a few more insights about shopping and shipping trends:

Free Shipping drives purchase decisions
Free shipping can be a dealbreaker for many holiday shoppers. We found that if a site didn’t offer free shipping, 47% of shoppers would find the item on a different site that did, 32% of shoppers would go to a nearby store, and only 20% would buy the product from the site anyway.

Many people search specifically for sites that offer free shipping. Searches on Google for “free shipping” are up 58% in the past month, and peaked on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, searches on Google for “free shipping” spiked 33% on Free Shipping Day. Savvy retailers who are participating in Free Shipping day can make the most out of it by promoting their shipping offers online.

Multiscreen mavens
Gadgets are always high on people’s holiday lists, and 2012 is no different. In fact, we found that 43% of people shopping for electronics are shopping for themselves (Google Consumer Surveys).

But smartphones, laptops, and tablets aren’t just at the top of the tech wish list, people are using these devices to shop across multiple screens more than ever before. 83% of both smartphone and tablet owners have used their devices for some portion of the shopping process post-Cyber Monday (Google/Ipsos study).

There’s still time left, but an important deadline is on the horizon - December 17 is also the last day you can send packages via FedEx Ground guaranteed for a arrival by Christmas. For more insights on holiday shopping trends check out our Google Consumer Surveys Holiday site.

Posted by Eva Barbier, Retail and Technology Team, Google