Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know all too well that holiday season 2008 was one of the worst in history. How different it was from prior years, particularly for department stores, can be seen in the accompanying tables furnished by The Gordman Group, Breckenridge, Colo.
Gordman’s annual National Shopping Behavior Study, conducted by Wiese Research, Omaha, Neb., and conducted by Cavallino Capital, among 815 consumers during the first half of December, found 55% reported spending less this year than a year ago, a 50% increase. By comparison, just 18% said they spent more than in 2007. Almost half (45%) said they had less money to spend, while 31% spent less because of the poor economy or fear of a recession.
For the first time in the nine-year history of the study, price exceeded selection as the reason why consumers shifted share of wallet to a different store.
In 2000, 15% of consumers reported they spent most of their holiday money in department stores. In 2002, the share for department stores had slipped to 11%. In 2008 it plummeted to just 6%. Macy’s was particularly vulnerable—25% said they visited Macy’s less often than in 2007 vs. just 7% who reported an increase in patronage.
Layaway programs received lots of media hype, but consumers rated it next to last among 14 ways a store could generate loyalty. Having merchandise in stock, sold at everyday low prices by helpful staff backed by a good return policy trounced layaway or other delayed-payment programs.
Why did you choose to make the purchases you did from a particular store rather than from some other store?
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