OPERATIONS

Ten holiday consumer insights from Mintel

BY Staff Writer

Chicago — With the holiday season in full swing, Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, has looked into its market intelligence to find out just what U.S. consumers do to make their holidays special.

Here are 10 interesting insights:

• Some 13% of U.S. consumers think a cell phone is a good gift for children aged 6-11, up from just 4% earlier this year.

• November is the most popular time to start shopping for holiday gifts, with nearly one-third (30%) of US shoppers starting then. However, 15% start their holiday shopping in December – the majority (18%) are male.

• Roughly one-third (32%) of Americans expect stores to offer boxes for holiday gifts; close to a quarter (22%) plan to cut down on the number of people they buy gifts for; and, more than two in 10 browse in-store, but buy online to save money.

• Twenty-seven percent of U.S. consumers say that when they go gift shopping for the holidays, they usually wind up buying something for themselves.

• From last year’s holiday season (i.e. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.), the average amount of money spent on video gaming equipment as gifts for other people was $78.

• Skipping the wrapping paper? Twenty-one percent of Americans say they only use it rarely if at all, since gift bags are so plentiful.

Forty-two percent of Americans say they bought Christmas decorations in the past year, compared with only 24% for Halloween and 14% for Easter.

• Close to three in 10 (29%) U.S. consumers say they bought a fragrance as a gift for someone else on Christmas. The winter holidays represent the peak season for fragrance sales.

• More than a quarter (28%) of Mintel respondents buy candles specifically for the holidays.

• Nearly one in five (18%) of U.S. consumers claim they "absolutely have to entertain guests for the holidays."

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OPERATIONS

Brand presidents named for Dressbarn and Maurices

BY Staff Writer

Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group said Thursday it has appointed Jeff Gerstel as president of Dressbarn, and named George Goldfarb as president of its Maurices brand, both effective immediately.

The new executives will report to David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena Retail Group.

Gerstel joined Dressbarn in 2006 as senior VP operations and most recently served as executive VP and COO.

Goldfarb joined Maurices in 1985, was named CFO in 2003, and most recently was its executive VP and COO.

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CVS/pharmacy debuts mobile shopping platform for smartphones users

BY Antoinette Alexander

Woonsocket, R.I. — Looking to stay on the cutting edge of mobile commerce, CVS/pharmacy has made the entire CVS.com catalog available to shoppers through its mobile site (m.cvs.com), so CVS/pharmacy customers easily can browse, order and buy products anywhere, anytime from their smartphones.

In addition, the CVS Photo mobile site features fully-optimized print ordering and purchasing with easy checkout.

"Our new mobile shopping site offers digitally-minded CVS/pharmacy shoppers with a superior on-the-go retail shopping experience," CVS/pharmacy SVP and chief marketing officer Rob Price said. "The launch of mobile shopping is another exciting step in our ongoing effort to expand our digital suite in order to better serve all of our customers — whether they are refilling prescriptions via camera phone or shopping for holiday gifts from their smartphone."

The news comes on the heels of new research data from eMarketer, which estimated that mobile commerce sales will reach $6.7 billion this year in the United States — a small fraction of overall retail sales, no doubt, but a whopping 91.4% increase over 2010. Next year, sales will rise another hefty 73.1% to $11.6 billion. EMarketer publishes data, analysis and insights on digital marketing, media and commerce.

Visitors to the CVS/pharmacy mobile site now can:

  • Access the CVS.com catalog of more than 25,000 products;
  • Redeem coupons and offers;
  • Purchase and ship products;
  • Browse product categories and search for specific items;
  • Update credit card and account information for shipping and billing; and
  • Log-in to their CVS Photo account to order and purchase prints for in-store pickup.

These mobile enhancements complement previous upgrades that allow shoppers to spot nearby CVS/pharmacy stores by using their phone’s GPS, check the weekly circular and find MinuteClinic locations and services. CVS/pharmacy shoppers also can manage their ExtraCare Rewards accounts and scan and send prescription refills, via their smartphone.

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