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Survey: Walmart holiday ads tops with consumers

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Walmart has overtaken Target as the company with shoppers’ favorite holiday commercial, according to a Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey. Target, which claimed the second spot this year, has topped the list since 2005, the first year of the survey, which was conducted by BIGresearch.

Other big news came from Gap, Hallmark and Old Navy, with Gap (No. 4) resurfacing on the list for the first time since 2006; Hallmark (No. 9) making the list for the first time; and Old Navy (No. 6) climbing three spots from last year’s ranking. Other companies in the Top 10 included: Best Buy (No. 3); Macy’s (No. 5); Kmart (No. 7); Sears (No. 8); and Kohl’s (No. 10).

“From the hilarious to the nostalgic, retailers holiday advertisements are designed to create a unique, personal connection with customers,” said Mike Gatti, executive director, RAMA. “Whether the ads remind shoppers about potential savings, use real employees to promote specific products, or simply highlight the spirit of Christmas, advertisements this year have hit a sweet spot with shoppers.”

According to the survey, 16.8% of shoppers said their favorite holiday commercial motivated them to shop with that retailer and nearly one-third (32.8%) said there was no impact as they regularly shop there anyway.

As a new component to the survey this year, shoppers were asked to name their favorite online holiday promotion, with Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s topping the list.

Other favorites included: eBay; Macy’s; J.C. Penney; Overstock.com; Sears; Kmart; and Old Navy. When asked if these online advertisements motivated them to shop that retailer, 22.1% said yes and more than one-fourth (27.8%) said they already shop there.

When it comes to specific holiday advertisements, coupons are king with 44.6% of shoppers saying the opportunity to save a few bucks is what most influences them to shop at a particular store. Word of mouth (27.2%); advertising inserts (26.9%); newspapers (22.0%); and direct mail (21.3%) are other strong influencers when it comes to retailers’ holiday advertisements.

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Santa surfing the Web this year

BY CSA STAFF

Full parking lots and crowded stores are testament to the fact that lots of people are Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, it is a different story when it comes to actual sales, as illustrated by November results and month-to-date projections for December, which shows consumers are reluctant to spend even though plenty of them are shopping.

It is a different story online though, where strong purchase activity is driving sales to record levels. That’s good new for Target, because the company enjoys a favorable national reputation, which means it can attract customers to Target.com beyond those who are physically able to shop at its nearly 1,800 locations. That explains why the retailer’s Web site is ranked 31st in comScore’s most recent listing of the top 50 U.S. Web properties, with 27.1 million unique visitors, compared with Walmart.com, with 31.8 million unique visitors. The Target and Walmart rankings are based on traffic in October, and, with November results due out later this week, both retailers are sure to have moved higher in the rankings due to their aggressive promotions and marketing efforts that have made online sales activity a real bright spot this season. According to comScore, online spending for the period beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 11 increased 3% to nearly $20 billion, and roughly $4 billion of that amount occurred during the five days since Dec. 6, when comScore noted that online sales for the holiday period total nearly $16 billion.

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Got organic milk?

BY CSA STAFF

You can never find a copy editor when you need one. Had someone detected a seemingly minor discrepancy between the photo of a product that appeared in a print ad and the item sold in stores, the retailer could have avoided some recent negative publicity. The issue involved Silk-brand soy milk and Target’s use of a product photo that included the word organic. Unfortunately, the photo was old, and the soy milk being sold in stores wasn’t organic. A group called the Cornucopia Institute noticed the discrepancy and brought the attention to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Associated Press, which obliged the watchdog group with coverage of the matter.

Target chose not to respond, but such instances, isolated as they may be, tend to reinforce existing negative perceptions within the more conspiratorial segments of the organic community that larger retailers can not be trusted, and, given the opportunity, will cut corners and weaken organic standards.

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