MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Holiday shoppers expect deeper discounts

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – Almost seven-in-10 (66%) shoppers feel retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year due to the current state of the economy. The new Winter Holiday Shopping Survey from PriceGrabber also shows that 21% of holiday shoppers said they started saving money before June, while the majority of survey respondents plan to start shopping for the holidays in October and November.

Consumers are aiming to maintain similar holiday budgets as they had last year, with 52% of survey respondents planning to spend about the same amount on their holiday purchases as they did in 2012. Of the 25% of shoppers who aim to reduce their holiday budget this year, 45% said they would spend less because of an increase in prices on basic necessities; 42% are making less money this year; 28% said it was acceptable to spend less on gifts because of the economy, and 11% accounted for unemployment.

On the other hand, 23% said they plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, up by 11%age points from 2012. According to the survey, the driving reason for shoppers who plan to increase their budget is that they believe retailers will offer better prices, discounts and special deals on gifts this year. It is noteworthy to mention that 35% of shoppers who plan to spend more are doing so because they are making more money this year, and 22% said they are confident in the economy.

When Hanukkah shoppers were asked how the holiday falling during Thanksgiving will affect their shopping plans, 31% said they will choose to buy a few gifts prior to the holiday and then take advantage of deals after Thanksgiving. Twenty-five percent said they will be done shopping very early, and 9% of Hanukkah shoppers said they will wait to buy all of their presents until after the first day of Hanukkah and the Thanksgiving holiday. When Hanukkah shoppers were asked their strategy for finding deals for Hanukkah shopping, 50% said they will look for retailers running early sales.

"Our survey found that the current state of the economy continues to lurk in the minds of consumers, and shoppers expect deeper discounts this holiday season," said Rojeh Avanesian, senior VP of marketing and sales of PriceGrabber. "The U.S. fiscal concerns could play a pivotal role in consumer confidence in the economy. Retailers will need to adapt and be sensitive to consumer sentiment to maintain customer loyalty."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Big Lots names Kmart exec as chief customer officer; will expand discounter’s digital presence

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – Big Lots has named Andrew Stein as senior VP, chief customer officer. Prior to Big Lots, Stein was a marketing executive at Kmart, where he served a number of roles leading up to his appointment as chief marketing officer in August 2011. Stein’s appointment is in line with Big Lots’ intent to expand its digital presence.

As chief customer officer, Stein will oversee all areas of consumer engagement and customer messaging, including marketing, advertising, brand development, and merchandise presentation. His responsibilities will include furthering the company’s brand recognition including: enhancing our Internet presence and further development of biglots.com, expanding the use of digital marketing and social media, and integrating the recently enhanced Buzz Club Rewards loyalty program. Stein will report directly to David Campisi, CEO and president of Big Lots.

“Andy has been an innovator in digital marketing strategies and multichannel communications,” said Campisi. “He brings a wealth of experience integrating e-commerce and omni-channel solutions into brick-and-mortar retail operations. His analytical approach to creative strategic thinking will add tremendous value to our efforts. We’re delighted to welcome him as a member of our executive leadership team."

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FINANCE

Report: Jones Group attempting deals with Sycamore Group, GIII

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The Jones Group is reportedly approaching deals to sell its business to Sycamore Group and GIII Apparel Group.

Sycamore Group is an Indianapolis-based real estate firm and GIII is a New York-based apparel licensor and manufacturer. Women’s Wear Daily reports sources indicate Jones Group is close to reaching agreements with both companies.

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