SymphonyIRI: Shoppers scale back, seek best deals for holiday season

CHICAGO Shoppers are trimming their holiday-related purchases this season, according to new research by SymphonyIRI.

While shoppers aren't completely halting their spending this year -- according to the 1,000 consumers surveyed -- the SymphonyIRI "Special Report: Holiday Shopping 2010" noted that more shoppers are more strategic this year by comparing prices of items online before making their purchasing decisions (nearly 75% of those surveyed). More consumers deliberately are reducing expenses by spending less on gifts and holiday celebration-related food and beverages, as 2010 will see an increase in the number of consumers who plan to budget no more than $199 this year on gift shopping — 23%, up eight points from 2009 (15%) and 12 points from 2008 (11%).

Many consumers indicated a strong willingness to search for the best price for their holiday celebration-related food and beverage needs this year. Similarly, for holiday celebration-related food and beverage purchases, 75% of shoppers will leverage Internet and e-mail coupons with the same or increased frequency, and just under half of shoppers plan to take better advantage of in-store promotions and newspaper/circular coupons, SymphonyIRI found. About one-third of consumers surveyed also said they likely will avoid purchasing unplanned holiday celebration-related food and beverages.

As far as where shoppers can be found this holiday season, SymphonyIRI found that one would have to look no further than such mass merchandisers and supercenters as Kmart and Walmart.

“The economy continues to transform, and with that, consumers are evolving,” said John McIndoe,SVP marketing at SymphonyIRI. “As a result, today’s retail environment is even more complex than we have seen historically. Through comprehensive and ongoing surveys, such as this newly released 'Holiday Shopping 2010' survey, SymphonyIRI is providing insightful information that reveals opportunities for CPG manufacturers and retailers to serve and satisfy consumers and secure ongoing shopper loyalty.”

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