Forest City survey: Holiday shoppers looking for value

Cleveland -- Holiday spending expectations are in line with last year when in-store shopping accounted for 70% of spending, according to a new survey by Forest City Enterprises. The average in-store expenditure is expected to increase by 1% to about $774. The average online expenditure is expected to decrease by 0.3% to $330.

Holiday shoppers will be driven more than ever by value this year and that they expect to shift even more of their spending toward children, the study found.  

Reflecting the apparent shift toward value shopping, 23% of shoppers surveyed expect to spend more on “value brands” this year than last. That compares with 13.9% who expect to spend more on “mid-price” brands and 12.6% who expect to spend more on “luxury brands.”

In contrast, almost a third (32.3%) expect to spend less on luxury brands.

Shoppers say they expect to spend more on children’s apparel (32.7%), accessories (28.7%) and toys (26.7%) – this year.  They will be trimming spending on fine jewelry (38.7%), mobile phones (38.3%) and holiday décor (33.5%).

“Whether it’s a sign of tight economic times or more wishful and persuasive children, close to one-third of shoppers also plan to spend more on children’s categories this year,” said Jane Lisy, senior VP Marketing. “What your children want takes priority over your personal wishes.”

Other survey results include:

  • Most shoppers — 66% — aren’t aware that there are six fewer holiday shopping days this year than last.
  • With the ubiquitous presence of digital, social and mobile tools, 91.3% of shoppers said they will use one of these tools from this year – up slightly from last year. The biggest jump is among those who plan to use a mobile app for price research – 26.2% this year, compared with 19.3% last year.
  • About half (49.4%) of shoppers say they won’t be shopping in-store on Thanksgiving Day while 27.4% plan to do so. The remaining “not sure” group leaves open the potential for in-store traffic on the holiday to be as much as 10% higher this year.
  • The majority of shoppers say the traditional weekday shopping hours (10 a.m. – 9 p.m.) are the most convenient for them, and extended hours on Friday and Sunday nights have the most appeal.
  • About four-out-of-10 shoppers purchased a mall gift card in 2012 and plan to do so again this year.

Alexander Babbage, a leading strategic consumer research firm, conducted the online survey among shoppers representing Forest City centers nationwide. Altogether, more than 10,000 shoppers provided input on their holiday shopping plans and preferences.

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