Increased number of shoppers intend to spend more for holidays
New York — A report released Wednesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs found that consumers are more willing to spend this holiday season.
According to the 2012 Holiday Spending Intentions Survey, 19% of consumers plan to spend more (and 5% plan to spend substantially more) on holiday gifts this year versus last year. This is the highest percentage of consumers reporting they intend to increase spending over the previous holiday season since ICSC began asking the question in 2004.
The top three holiday-gift items for 2012 are gift cards (21.3%), apparel (14.1%) and toys and games (14.1%). Gift cards have consistently been one of the top items that consumers exchange during the holiday season, which is a key reason why the holiday season has been extended into January as gift-card redemptions dominate shopping in the post-Christmas period.
The top items that consumers say they want for this holiday season are: (1) gift cards (59%); (2) electronic gadgets (38%); and (3) electronic media (28%), which today spans music, CDs, DVDs and e-books. Interestingly, the ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey found that women are more inclined to want a gift card than men (63% versus 55%). However, men are more inclined to want electronic gadgets for their holiday gifts than women (46% versus 31%).
With the traditional holiday-season length being at its longest possible span this year (between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day is 32 days in 2012), consumers were asked when do they expect to finish their holiday-gift buying. About a fifth (21%) reported they intend to complete it within November with Black Friday shopping alone accounting for about 60% of the November completion target (or 12% of the November-December total). A little less than a fifth (19%) expected that they would complete their shopping by the first week of December and 27% thought the second week of December was their likely completion time frame. Another 20% reported the third week of December was their expectation for completion, while just 3% were real procrastinators, expecting to finish on Christmas Eve or later.
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Showrooming to affect up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales
Framingham, Mass. — IDC Retail Insights on Wednesday released a new survey report, “Business Strategy: At Hand Versus In Hand — Will Consumers Have the Upper Hand in the 2012 Holiday Showroom Showdown?,” which found that 48 million shoppers will “showroom” or use their smartphones in some manner while they shop in stores during the upcoming winter holiday season.
This represents a 134% increase from 2011 when 20.5 million shoppers showroomed. IDC Retail Insights forecasts that the number of showrooming shoppers will grow to 59 million next year, 69 million in 2014, and 78 million in 2015. This year, according to the new research, showrooming behaviors will influence $0.7 to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases.
Key highlights of the new report include:
- Big-ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings, and reviews, will be the most showroomed items this year;
- 7% to 13% of consumer electronics shoppers will use their smartphones at least once in stores this season; showrooming activities will touch 1.4% of consumer electronic sales.
- Apparel and footwear is the second most heavily showroomed category. Between 4% and 8% of shoppers will showroom this category this year affecting about 1% of its sales;
- 64% think what they’ll learn in the store with their smartphones will have at least as much influence on their decision as what they’ll learn online before coming into the store;
- 56% to 60% of shoppers with their smartphones in-hand say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to buy what they find in the store as they shop this season when assisted by trustworthy knowledgeable store associates; and
- 41% of showrooming shoppers say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to rely on their smartphones when they encounter retailers who offer private or exclusive merchandise.
“The merchandising and customer services strategies that differentiate a retailer and define its value bear on showrooming shoppers’ propensity to rely on their smartphones in stores,” said Greg Girard, program director, IDC Retail Insights. “Private labels or exclusive brands, customer service, and loyalty stand out as the most promising strategies for dealing with showrooming.”
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Sales growth of smaller retailers lag industry
Purchase, N.Y. — A report released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard in partnership with Wells Fargo, found that spending at small retailers in October slowed to an increase of 4.2% year over year, down from a 5.8% growth rate in September.
This was the slowest year-over-year growth rate for smaller retailers in 2012, falling below the growth rate of total U.S. retail sales by one percentage point.
The October report also found that when gasoline sales are removed, the year-over-year sales growth rate dipped to 3.6%. Michael McNamara, global solutions leader, MasterCard SpendingPulse, said, “This was the first time the small retailer sales year-over-year growth rate has lagged behind overall retail sales growth since September 2011. However, thanks to the fairly strong performance of smaller retailers for the first nine months of the year, on a year-to-date basis, small retailers continue to outperform overall total retail sales excluding auto.”
On a year-to-date basis, the sales growth rate excluding auto for small retailers is 7.4% from January through October 2012, compared with a 5.6% growth rate for retail overall during the same time period.