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Accenture forecasts ‘careful’ and ‘controlled’ holiday spending

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — An overwhelming majority (72%) of U.S. consumers expect their holiday spending to be “careful” or “controlled” in 2011, according to Accenture’s annual consumer holiday shopping study. Discounts, sales and prices are still top of mind this holiday, with 40% of consumers saying an item being on sale is the single most important factor in their decision to purchase.

According to the Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey, 88% of shoppers intend to spend the same or less than last year, and 71% of respondents earning more than $100,000 expect to spend over $500 on gifts this holiday season, indicating that high-income shoppers may provide a boost to retailers this season.

“Precision shoppers’ will dominate,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “They will be very targeted about where and what they buy, and will be more inclined to shop around for the best value. Stores should focus on providing an experience and services that create a sense of extra value in the mind of the shopper. The research data, and our conversations with clients, leads us to expect a boost from high income shoppers who are planning to treat themselves and their families.”

While discount stores still remain the top holiday shopping destination, their dominant position is beginning to fade, according to the survey. Seventy-three percent of respondents say that they will shop at a discount retailer this year, down from 81% last year and 85% in 2009.

“The drop in respondents shopping at discount retailers is surprising; however, it does illustrate how other retailers have stepped up to the challenge over the last couple of holiday seasons,” said Hoffman. “In particular, the high-performing department stores have retained a keen focus on promotions that are carefully targeted to hit their customers’ value buttons.”

The importance of “Black Friday” also continued to slide downwards. Forty-four of consumers say that they are likely to shop on Black Friday, down from 47% in 2010, and 52% in 2009.

Although, the survey findings on total holiday spend suggest an increase in the number of consumers spending more than $750 in total (19% versus 14% in 2010), and a larger proportion of respondents spending more this season will be raising their level of spending by $500 or more compared with last year (16% versus 10% in 2010).

Of the shoppers who say they will spend less this holiday, 43% claim it is because they have less discretionary income to spend this year, 30% have less savings, and 37% have seen a rise in living expenses.

The research showed no significant change in the number of consumers shopping online (66% versus 69% in 2010). Interestingly, the number of shoppers expecting to buy more than half of their holiday gifts online rose significantly to 59% from 41% in 2010.

Free shipping (74%) and finding better discounts (60%) are still the biggest incentives to spending online; 47% simply wanted to avoid the crowds.

In other key findings:

  • While shoppers will be looking for a ‘sale’ sign, they will not be expecting the ‘doorbuster’-sized deals seen in 2008; 60% will seek a discount between 20%-49% (62% in 2010), and fewer (21% versus 25% in 2010) will look for a discount of more than 50%.
  • Apparel (54%), toys (36%) and gift cards (57%) will be at the top of holiday shopping lists this year. The survey also indicated an upwards shift in the value of gift cards purchased this year; 12% indicated that they would spend more than $75 on each gift card (6% in 2010).
  • Gadgets, such as smartphones, tablet computers or MP3 players, will also be strong with 36% of respondents looking to buy one or more of these items.
  • Fifty-two percent shoppers will be leaving their holiday shopping until after Black Friday (versus 41% in 2010), and one third (33%) will leave the bulk of their purchases until December. The expectation of better discounts being available is the lure for 57% of consumers shopping late in the season; 35% say they are leaving themselves more time to save.

The best time to secure bargains are seen as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events (37%) and the week leading up to Christmas (29%).

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NPD looks into Sam’s Club POS data

BY CSA STAFF

The NPD signed a point-of-sale cooperation agreement with Sam’s Club, the Wal-Mart Stores division, to receive and analyze sales information from Sam’s Club U.S. clubs and SamsClub.com.

Under the agreement, NPD will receive point-of-sale data from Sam’s Club, increasing NPD’s tracking coverage for clubs and e-commerce and providing its clients with a more robust view of market activity in these channels. NPD will also become Sam’s Club’s primary provider of point-of-sale and consumer panel information in the General Merchandise categories.

“This expanded partnership with NPD will allow us to better understand what our members are looking for in general merchandise and then use that knowledge to work with suppliers to meet those wants and needs,” said Cindy Davis, executive VP of Walmart global customer insights.

The NPD Group offers point-of-sale information and insights for a wide range of industry sectors based on information provided by more than 900 retailers representing 150,000 retail doors worldwide. NPD chairman and CEO Tod Johnson said: “We look forward to building our relationship with Sam’s Club and the benefits that this will bring to our retailer and manufacturer clients. As the marketplace evolves and consumers look online for more of their shopping needs, we are committed to offering more insight into e-commerce."

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Former P&G executive named CEO at Catalina

BY CSA STAFF

Jamie Egasti was named CEO of Catalina Marketing Corp. and will join the firm’s board of directors. Egasti previously served as CEO of The Folgers Coffee Company and president of global snacks and coffee at Procter & Gamble. Egasti replaces Catalina co-founder George Off, who has served as interim CEO and a member of the company’s board of directors since May, 2011.

“Jamie Egasti is an exceptional leader and builder who understands what it takes to create successful organizations,” said Philip Hammarskjold, chairman of the board for Catalina. “Jamie recognizes Catalina’s tremendous ongoing contribution and potential in helping brands, retailers and health care providers grow by providing value that matters to consumers. His deep knowledge of our industry and proven leadership in business innovation will be invaluable moving forward.”

Egasti spent nearly 30 years with Procter & Gamble, holding a variety of sales, marketing and senior management positions, including general management of the global fabric and home care new business development group where he led the creation and launch of several new global businesses, including the Febreze and Swiffer brands. He later served as president of P&G’s $3.2 billion snacks and coffee business and became chief executive officer of The Folgers Coffee Company, where he led the spin-off of Folgers from P&G and later its transition to The JM Smucker Company.

“I am thrilled to join Catalina at an exciting time in our company’s evolution,” said Egasti. “Our ability to see, predict and prompt consumer behavior at the household level cannot be duplicated by any other company in the world. And, our ability to deliver innovative value is superb. It is an honor to be joining such an incredible organization.”

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