According to a new research report from G/O Digital, “Holiday Purchasing Habits: A Digital Advantage for Local Businesses,” small businesses need to execute a digital marketing plan early in order to make a big impact this holiday season. The report surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers who research holiday purchases online.
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is optimistic about growth in customer traffic and sales for independent businesses during the upcoming holiday season—with hopes of matching or exceeding the 5.3 percent growth posted last year.
According to a consumer survey conducted during the second quarter of this year, six out of ten customers say they go out of their way to shop at small, locally-owned businesses. The U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that over 90 percent of fourth quarter shopping will take place in brick-and-mortar stores.
Advocates for Independent Business (AIB), a coalition of trade associations and other organizations concerned with the success of locally-owned, independent businesses, documents that locally-owned retailers have a far greater impact on their communities than national brands. For every $10 million in customer spending at amazon.com, for example, amazon.com creates 14 jobs. Meanwhile, the same amount spent at local brick-and-mortar stores creates 57 jobs, or 75 percent more. ASTRA is a founding member of AIB.
An infographic for retailers to use in their stores and around their communities to reinforce the value added aspects of shopping locally can be downloaded and printed here.
This holiday season, gift card spending is set to top all previous records. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Gift Card Spending Survey, the average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74, up from $163.16 last year, with total spending expected to reach $31.74 billion. In an October NRF survey, 62 percent of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making gift cards the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.
According to the survey, shoppers will spend more on average per card than they did last year, with total spending on gift cards increasing 83 percent since NRF began tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards as holiday gifts in 2003.
The survey found adults 65 and up will spend the most on gift cards, with young adults between 18 to 24 years old spending the least, and men planning to spend significantly more than women ($180.81 versus $165.09, respectively).
Shoppers noted the ease of buying, the ability to allow recipients to select their own gifts, and sticking to holiday budgets as top reasons for choosing gift cards over traditional gifts. Gift cards for department stores, restaurants, and coffee shops are expected to be top choices this holiday season.
FedEx plans to hire 50,000 seasonal workers, up from 40,000 last year, while UPS will add up to 95,000 people, up from 85,000. Last year, both companies scrambled to hire more seasonal employees than they had planned.
FedEx also expects to invest $1.2 billion in its ground-shipping network in its current fiscal year, with most of that going to increase capacity and automation. The company said that the improvements have sped up ground delivery by a day or more in more than two-thirds of the U.S. UPS has also invested to boost shipping capacity during the holidays.
Last December, the delivery giants were caught off-guard by bad weather and a surge in last-minute online shopping, leading to an estimated 2 million packages arriving late for the holidays.
About 1.3 million express packages handled by UPS and 618,000 carried by FedEx failed to get delivered on time last Christmas Eve, with UPS and FedEx at fault roughly 30 percent of the time, according to ShipMatrix Inc. In most cases, retailers promised guaranteed express delivery, but didn’t pay the delivery companies for that speedier service.
The retail federation’s online division, Shop.org, predicts that online sales in November and December will rise 8 to 11 percent over last year.
With Christmas right around the corner, Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will keep their doors open for 88 consecutive hours of shopping beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday, December 21 through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, providing last-minute gift-givers with “all the toys, all the time.”
Shoppers will also get values each day leading up to Christmas, as well as the company’s Price Match Guarantee, helping them check off everything on their little one’s wish list and stretch their holiday budgets. [Read more...]
Check out The Toy Book‘s Editor in Chief Jackie Breyer as she shares her picks for hottest holiday gifts for kids on Fox & Friends First.
PriceGrabber has released results from its third winter holiday shopping survey, revealing that 71 percent of consumers believe that retailers offer better deals during Thanksgiving weekend than they do during the rest of the winter holiday shopping season, up from 58 percent last year. Conducted from October 1 to October 24, the survey includes responses from 4,958 U.S. online shopping consumers.
When consumers who indicated that the best deals can be found over the Thanksgiving weekend were asked which days retailers offer the best prices (respondents could select as many choices as they liked), 71 percent said Black Friday (November 23), down from 80 percent last year and 86 percent in 2010, and 41 percent said Cyber Monday (November 26), up from 37 percent last year and 33 percent in 2010.
Consumers are prepared for a holly, jolly holiday season, though it’s evident most will take a conservative approach with their gift-giving budgets. According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards, and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they actually spent last year. NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.
According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles, and others. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers, and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66), and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.
PriceGrabber has released additional results of its first winter holiday shopping survey, revealing that 54 percent of consumers plan to spend $500 or more on gifts this season, slightly higher than last year. Conducted from August 31 to September 12, the survey includes responses from 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers. Click either photo below to view the full-size infographic.