Holiday Survey: Lowest Retailer Retention in 10 Years

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last-minute-gift-ideasCharleston, SC/Winston-Salem, NC—With less than two days to Christmas, U.S. retailers are still scrambling to grab the final third of shoppers who say they still haven’t finished their gift shopping, according to a survey released today. Moreoever, retailers are finding it more difficult than ever to get shoppers to return to their stores.

The Christmas & Holiday Shopping Forecast released today by America’s Research Group and Inmar found that only two-thirds of Americans are all or almost finished their Christmas shopping now.

Retailers Failed to Excite?

“This is the worst Christmas season in the last 10 years when it comes to retailers getting their customers to return to their stores to shop again this year….and many retailers are in grave danger because of it,” says Britt Beemer, ARG chairman/ceo.

Of the 24 retailers surveyed, only three retained 70% or more of their customer base, with Walmart topping the list at 88.1% followed closely by Dollar Tree at 80.4%, and Target at 72.1%.

Regarding shopping levels of return customers, the following retailers all saw increases: CVS (+42.6%), The Gap (+33.9%), American Eagle (+22.5%), Macy’s (+21.5%), Best Buy (+16.9%) and Sears (+7.7%).

But while declines were shown at Target (-3.4%), JC Penney (-22.6%), ToysRUs (-25%), TJ Maxx (-30.4%), Ross (-33.1%), and Marshalls -57.3%).

Of those not finished shopping, those holding out for bigger bargains is up to 25.1% from 20.8% last year. “Twenty-two percent of shoppers said they were waiting for 60% to 70%-off sales to finish their Christmas shopping…and they didn’t see it,” says Beemer.

Of those who are shopping, consumers doing 75% or more of their holiday shopping at Walmart this year jumped to 28.8% this year from 20.6% last year; while enclosed shopping malls experienced another decline falling to 23.7% this year from 26.3% last year.

“Deals continue to make the difference this holiday season,” says John Ross, president, Inmar Analytics. “Despite 78% of shoppers being finished with their holiday gift buying, there are very active shoppers still out in the marketplace and they’re looking hard for bargains.

Where’s the 75% Off?

Among those shoppers who haven’t finished their holiday buying, better than 25% are holding out for even bigger sales–looking to top the deep discounts that fueled the season’s quick start and pushed many shoppers past planned budget limits.” adds Ross, “Responses to survey questions from those shoppers who spent more than they originally planned reveal almost 15% attribute their additional spending to the great deals they found.”

The survey also reveals that consumers ordering gifts online is down from 41.7% in 2012 to 37.9% this year. And of those ordering gifts online, Amazon is down to 25.3% from 29.3% market share last year and Walmart is up to 8.7% from 6% market share last year. Gift card purchasing is surprisingly down this year to 46.4% from 60% last year.

“Retailers failed to excite shoppers this season,” says Beemer, “due to a conservative advertising strategy by only giving consumers 50%-off sales rather that the 60% to 70%-off deals they wanted.”

About the Survey

The ARG/Inmar research consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews conducted Dec. 20 to 22 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%. This concludes the most extensive study of Christmas shoppers by any research firm in America–seven national surveys from the first of November through this past weekend.





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