Charleston, SC/Winston-Salem, NC—Just before Black Friday, retail analysts had been predicting that holiday shoppers—many on tight budgets and looking for deals—would only be lured into stores with promises of 40% to 50% off.
Now the latest Christmas & Holiday Shopping Forecast released today by America’s Research Group and Inmar, says that shoppers want even bigger discounts.
“Those who are waiting for the last minute deals say they’re holding out for 70% or 60%-off sales…and 50%-off just won’t cut it!,” said Britt Beemer, chairman/ceo at America’s Research Group (ARG). “45.3% say they’re holding out for 70%-off, 31.6% say 60%-off and only 19.9% say 50%-off will do it for them.”
According to this survey, more consumers report they have already finished their holiday shopping than any time in the last 10 years: 30.8% say they are completely or 90% done. The last year that came closest to this year’s record was 2008 when 25.3% said they were done, Beemer notes.
Apparel Sales Boom
The hunt for bargains was evident in which retailers got the most shoppers last weekend.
Walmart is the No. 1 store where consumers are doing most of their shopping this past weekend, up to 35.7% this year versus 32% last year.
“Walmart is increasing their shopping levels, but Sam’s Club is seeing the largest sales growth this year,” reports Beemer. Wal-Mart’s shopping overall is up this year from 59.6% to 64.2%; and Sam’s Club is enjoying a big increase this year, up from 12.1% last year to 18.9%. Additionally, Target shopping is up from 34.8% last year to 40.9% this year. Results show mall shopping level plummeted from 28.5% last year to 24.2% this year.
Apparel is another bright spot, rising from 38.8% last year to 47% this year. “As we predicted, many parents were putting off purchasing their children’s back-to-school apparel until December to save money,” said Beemer.
Other categories performing well: toys up 54.4% compared with 46.1% last year; TV sales up from 7.9% to 10.5%, computers up to 10.3% from 8% a year ago, but video games slumped to 24.2% from 26.1% last year.
“This year looks to be a more planned and, perhaps more personalized, Christmas with the majority of shoppers intent on staying within budgets – that, for most, are smaller than last year,” says Inmar Analytics President and EVP, John Ross. “Less expensive gifts, including food, are on many lists with 49% of shoppers using coupons in the grocery store to help stretch holiday budgets.”
About the Survey
The ARG/Inmar research consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews conducted December 6-8 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%. The next ARG/Inmar shopping survey will be conducted December 13 to 15.