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Consumers shift shopping patterns on Cyber Monday

BY Dan Berthiaume

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Consumers show unique online shopping patterns on Cyber Monday. According to figures released by integrated online marketing company ValueClick, while most online shopping activity occurs between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. local time on a typical weekday, the heaviest volume shifts to 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time on Cyber Monday, peaking at 8 p.m.

In addition, online transaction volume is 5.5-times higher on Cyber Monday than on a typical weekday, and some retailers generate more than 10% of their fourth quarter revenue on that day. Other Cyber Monday findings include:

  • A small peak in mobile phone transactions occurs at lunchtime.
  • 43% of tablet transactions occur between 6:30 and 10 p.m.
  • Offline sales during Cyber Monday 2012 were 38% higher than the average holiday shopping day.

 

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Survey: Consumers are likely to increase holiday spending

BY Marianne Wilson

WASHINGTON — More consumers plan to spend more than last year, and fewer consumers less than last year, according to the 14th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association.  

Since 2012, the percentage who said they would spend more than the previous year rose from 12 to 13, while the percentage who said they would spend less declined from 38 to 32. These changes continue the trend from 2011, when only 8% said they would spend more while 41% said they would spend less. (Consumers almost always spend more than they say they plan to spend, so year-to-year comparisons are most meaningful.)

"The survey suggests that holiday spending will increase at least as fast as last year. It is also encouraging that fewer Americans see their economic status as worsening, despite on-going federal budget issues in Washington," said Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association.

The intention of consumers to increase holiday spending from last year is consistent with, and may well reflect, perceived improvement in their financial situation. The five percentage point gap between those who said their financial situation was better (24%) and those who said it was worse (29%) was the smallest since CFA and CUNA began asking the question in 2009. In 2011, this gap was 18 percentage points (19% better, 37% worse).

Survey respondents were asked if "recent controversies over federal government spending and borrowing" had affected their holiday spending plans. About one-half (51%) said that they had, with 18% saying "very much," 16% "somewhat," and 16 percent "a little."

Lower-income families were more likely to be affected by federal budget problems than high-income families. Nearly three-fifths (59%) of those in households with incomes under $50,000, but less than two-fifths (37%) of those in households with incomes above $100,000, said they were affected.

"Lower-income households are more dependent on federal jobs and expenditures than high-income households," noted Stephen Brobeck, CFA’s executive director. "While Food Stamp expenditures are being cut, stock prices have soared," he added.

 

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Black Friday weekend spending down 2.8%

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Overall spending over Black Friday weekend was expected to hit $57.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, which is down 2.8% from last year’s $59.1 billion. It was the first spending decline on a Black Friday weekend since 2009. But there was some good news for retailers: Online sales soared over the holiday weekend.

The NRF estimated that 141 million Americans shopped during the four-day weekend, up 1.2% from a year ago.

On average, the NRF estimated that shoppers spent $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down from $423.55 last year because of lower prices it said would persist through the rest of the season.

“Retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today’s very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper," said NRF chief executive Matthew Shay.

According to a NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics over the weekend, traffic on Thanksgiving Day itself grew 27% as nearly 45 million shoppers, or 31.8% of holiday shoppers, took advantage of special “turkey day” savings offers, up from 35 million in 2012.  

In other survey findings:

  • Black Friday was the biggest day: more than 92 million people shopped (65.2%) for apparel, electronics and more, up from nearly 89 million last year.
  • One-quarter (25.4%) of holiday shoppers were at stores by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night; nearly four-in-10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight, up from 28.0% last year. Early hours aren’t for everyone however; more than one-third (35.8%) didn’t arrive at stores until 10 a.m. or later.
  • Four-in-10 (42.1%) indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers.  
  • Nearly six-in-10 (57.5%) bought clothing and clothing accessories, 37.7% bought electronics, 34.5% bought toys, and 36.1% bought books, CDs, DVDs and video games. Additionally, 29.6% bought gift cards and 16.9% purchased jewelry items.
  • More than 76 million (54.2%) shoppers visited their favorite department store over the weekend, and nearly 55 million (38.9%) visited discount stores. Additionally, 32.2% (45 million) shopped at electronics stores and 28.7%, or 40 million, went to clothing or accessories stores for gifts.
  • Almost half (49.2%) of holiday shoppers over the weekend sought out information about promotions and sales via advertising circulars, and one-third (33.0%) conducted online searches to find the best deals. Additionally, 36.8% made sure to keep track of emails from retailers, 16.4% reviewed retail companies’ Facebook accounts for information, and 12.2% browsed stores to find bargains and sales.

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