OPERATIONS

Survey finds more consumers to research holiday purchases online before buying

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Angeles — Survey results released Tuesday by online shopping site PriceGrabber found that 88% of shoppers plan to research their holiday gift purchases in advance to find the best deals.

Of those, 38% plan to spend three to six hours researching holiday gift purchases, 29% plan to spend up to two hours, 19% said they plan to spend over 10 hours and 14% indicated between seven and 10 hours.

The results of PriceGrabber’s holiday shopping survey – which polled 2,235 U.S. online shoppers between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12 — also revealed that 50% of consumers plan to spend the same amount that they spent last year – up slightly from 48% in 2011 – and 12% plan to spend more.

For those who are spending less, the reason most given (62%) was due to increased prices for food, gas and other necessities.

Forty-one percent indicated that they are earning less money this year and 39% said they planned to spend less due to an increased acceptance of giving less-expensive gifts. The state of the economy also continues to impact consumers’ holiday shopping decisions, with PriceGrabber’s survey finding that 64% of shoppers say the economic climate will affect their overall spending.

Shoppers appear to be confident in their ability to find a holiday bargain this season. According to PriceGrabber’s survey, 67% of consumers said they believe retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. When asked what retailer tactics will entice consumers to buy a product this holiday season, 77% indicated free shipping, 74% noted price cuts, 55% said coupons, and 44% indicated blow out sales.

"Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 59% of consumers plan to start shopping even earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, compared to 53% in 2011," said Rojeh Avanesian, VP of marketing and analytics for PriceGrabber. "Our data indicates that 17% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in September and 31% plan to begin in October this year."

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News

Holiday digital sales to grow at least 20%

BY CSA STAFF

NEWYORK — Research released Monday by Citigroup and published by Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch found that digital sales for the holiday 2012 shopping season are expected to increase at least 20%, thanks to two additional shopping days and amped-up retail marketing efforts.

Surprisingly, however, Citi found that mobile shopping will likely have a limited impact on sales. That’s partly because while sales made through smartphones are expected to surge to $31 billion in 2016 from an estimated $10 billion this year, the figures only account for 7% of total online sales in 2016, up from an estimated 3% of e-commerce this year, according to Forrester Research data.

In comparison, U.S. online-retail sales are expected to surge to $327 billion by 2016 from more than $200 billion last year, with e-commerce accounting for 9% of total retail industry demand in 2016, up from 7% last year, Forrester found.

Sales through social networks also will have a limited direct-sales impact. While they are expected to surge by 93% each year, the amount is expected to come to $14 billion in 2015 from $1 billion last year.

Sales generated from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, or the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, will continue to grow in importance this season, found the research. Promotional efforts will start well before Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Day itself will continue to emerge as a more important online-shopping day.

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FINANCE

Zumiez same-store sales rise 5.6% in September

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Lynnwood, Wash. — Reporting ahead of most retailers whose results will be posted on Thursday, action sports retailer Zumiez said that same-store sales for the month of September rose 5.6%.

Total sales for the month increased 18.6% to $62.7 million, compared with $52.9 million for the same period last year.

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