FINANCE

CashNetUSA Survey: Almost half of Americans will cut holiday spending

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago — Almost half of Americans (46%) report they will spend less on the holidays than last year, with those living in the South more likely than any other region to say they plan to spend less this year at 55%.

An online survey conducted in October 2013 among 2,014 Americans ages 18 and older by Harris Interactive on behalf of online lender CashNetUSA also shows that only 8% of Americans indicate they plan to spend more on the holidays this year than last year and 37% indicated they would spend the same as last year.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

E-retailers top holiday shopping destination

BY Dan Berthiaume

Denver — Thirty percent of shoppers say the ease, speed, and low prices offered online make it a clear solution for the value and time-saving shopping experience they seek. An ongoing shopper behavior study from The Integer Group and M/A/R/C also shows that although mass merchants remain a popular holiday shopping destination, a leading 54% of shoppers say they will take advantage of free shipping deals that e-retailers can offer.

The study also shows more men plan to do their shopping with e-retailers because they say spending as little time as possible is the most important attribute for holiday shopping, while more women will shop at mass merchants as they say having an enjoyable experience is the most important attribute.

Other findings include 43% of Millennials will take advantage of Black Friday deals, 6% of holiday shoppers will use smartphones as an information resource in 2013, compared to 4% in 2012, and 18% more shoppers are using online tools (search engines, e-retailers, and brand websites) this year compared to last year. Mobile tools being used as an information source is a result of greater adoption among those 35 and older compared to 2012.

"The length of the holiday-shopping season allows shoppers to interact with brands and retailers multiple times and across multiple touchpoints,” said Craig Elston, senior VP, insight & strategy at The Integer Group. “Shoppers increasingly expect a multichannel shopping experience that allows them to easily transact across websites, smartphones, and store aisles. Brands and retailers should take time to evaluate and understand how customers move through these various touch points to ensure that their priorities are being met throughout the path to purchase."

Nine percent say they don’t spend any money on the holidays.

Americans who plan on cutting holiday costs this year anticipate the following reductions in spending:

  • 63% will spend less on gifts for family members other than children.
  • 54% will spend less on gifts for non-family members (e.g., teachers or service providers).
  • 43% will spend less on holiday travel.
  • 35% will spend less on gifts for children or grandchildren.
  • 30% will spend less on holiday meals.

Residents in the Northeast part of the country (71%) who plan on cutting back on holiday spending this year are more likely than those in the West (53%) to cut back on gifts for family members other than children.

The survey also found Americans look to pay for the majority of their holiday spending with cash they have on hand. When asked, those who are buying holiday gifts this year plan to use the following liquid cash sources:

  • 34% – money they saved all year.
  • 27% – debit cards.
  • 20% – money saved from November and December paychecks.
  • 18% – money they saved specifically for the holidays.

Thirty-one percent of those who are buying holiday gifts this year indicate they will charge gifts on credit cards, 12% will use layaway and 4%anticipate borrowing money.

"The decline in consumer confidence is now dampening our holiday spirits," says Megan Staton, director of marketing for online lender CashNetUSA. "Americans are focusing on basic spending and curtailing what is perceived as non-essential costs. With prices increasing and paychecks staying the same or declining, many Americans have no choice but to shorten the length of their holiday shopping lists."

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News

Report: Merchandisers seek speed in applications

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. – Retail merchandisers are expressing a pragmatic need for speed in future merchandising applications. According to a new study from RSR Research, “Merchandising Today: Benchmark 2013, 28%” top-performing retail “winners” are already investigating simplifying their IT environments with cloud-based merchandising technology.

In contrast, only 13% of underperforming retail “laggards” are investigating cloud-based merchandising systems. More than 50% of underperforming retailers see themselves spending their next three to five years just trying to get away from home-grown applications. Half of them (27%) in an effort to move toward point solutions and the other half (27%) trying to get towards an integrated suite.

RSR Research concludes that winners have moved on from home-grown merchandising applications while laggards are letting them inhibit technological progress.

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