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Physical stores to win out on Black Friday, Deloitte says

BY Marianne Wilson

Seventy percent of consumers who plan to shop on Black Friday plan to do so in stores, while 47% plan to shop online, down from 55% who said they planned to shop online last year, according to a survey from Deloitte. Three-quarters of Americans plan to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the survey found. People surveyed plan to spend an average of $427 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up from their intentions to spend $400 in last year’s survey.

The momentum in stores is expected to continue through the weekend, as 52% plan to shop in-store Saturday, compared with 24% online, a drop from 36% online in last year’s survey.

In other findings:

• Despite the showing in stores, shoppers expect to spend 52% of their holiday weekend budget online and 46% in physical stores.

• Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents plan to shop online on Cyber Monday.

• Early-morning Black Friday shoppers will outspend others, as those shopping between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. plan to spend an average of $225. Those shopping at 6 a.m. expect to spend $147, followed by $161 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

• Socializing is a primary motivator for spending time in retail stores, as 64% plan to shop in-store with family or friends over the weekend.

• Traditional department stores are the No.1 physical store destination for the weekend, with 51% of shoppers planning to visit them, followed by mass merchants at 39% and electronics/office supply/computer stores at 38%.

• Nearly four in 10 (37%) people surveyed say they haven’t started any of their holiday shopping yet.

• Clothing and accessories are the top item people plan to buy over the weekend, cited by 65% of respondents, followed by electronics (55%) and toys and hobby items (47%).

• Regardless of where people shop, many will rely on digital shopping tools for assistance. Thirty-eight percent expect to buy something online while in-store due to better pricing and/or price matching, and 36% say they’ll be influenced by deals from a mobile device while in-store over Thanksgiving weekend.

• Consumers also may not have much tolerance for website performance issues, as 46% said they’ll use another retailer rather than wait if an online site has technical problems.

“Consumers are gearing up to increase spending, and while online is expected to pull more of shoppers’ budgets, there is still a healthy outlook for traffic in the stores, particularly on Black Friday,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader. “That’s a tremendous opportunity to elevate the customer experience and create a strong rapport to drive sales. It starts with the digital part of the shopping journey, delivering creative and personalized promotions and touch-points that create inspiration before the holiday weekend. That follows with an in-store experience that delights with displays, merchandise and seasonal atmosphere, along with services that make it easy for customers to find unique items and make quick transactions.”

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SodaStream brings flavor essences, Fruit Drops to retailers

BY Gisselle Gaitan

Fans of SodaSteam will be pleased to know that the company has announced in-store availability for its latest product launch, the premier flavor essences, Fruit Drops. This announcement comes after the line of unsweetened products sold out within two weeks of becoming available on the brand’s website. 

Fruits Drops enhance ordinary tap water when made into sparkling water with a SodaStream machine, contain zero calories, all-natural flavor and no preservaties, according to the New Jersey-based company. 

"SodaStream is on a mission to make water exciting for millions of consumers around the world," Matti Yahav, VP Global Marketing, SodaStream International Ltd., said. "Fruit Drops is our first product that invites consumers to enhance ordinary water as well as fizzy water simply by adding a twist of naturally flavored fruit essence. Fruit Drops offer great taste, great value and a great way for consumers to hydrate healthy."

The product is currently available in five flavors: Lemon, Lime, Raspberry, Orange and Mango. Packaged in individual 40 ml glass bottles, each contains 20L (80 servings) of sparkling water. SodaStream Fruit Drops can be purchased for the suggested retail price of $3.99 for 80 servings and can be found in major retailers including Target locations throughout the nation, with expansion to Bed Bath and Beyond locations in Nov. 

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Greeting card sales continue to hold steady

BY Carol Radice

According to the Greeting Card Association, sales of the greeting card category — which they estimate to be between $7 and $8 billion — have held steady the past few years. 

Seven-out-of-10 card buyers surveyed by the Washington, D.C.-based group consider greeting cards “absolutely” or “almost” essential to them. Eight-out-of-10 of these buyers expect their purchases to remain the same going forward. Of the balance, twice as many card buyers said they will increase their purchasing as say they will “decrease” their purchasing in the coming year.

The average price for a card ranges from $2 to $4, but some cost as little as $.50 cents and as much as $10. Cards featuring special techniques, intricate designs and new technologies, as well as handmade cards, are at the top of the price scale.

Facts from GCA:

•  6.5 billion: the number of greeting cards purchased each year
•  30: the number of greeting cards the average household buys
•  80%: The amount of women versus men responsible for buying greeting cards. When guys shop for cards, the recipient often is a significant other or family member.
•  Birthdays are the top selling everyday card, accounting for more than half of the greeting cards sold, followed by sympathy, Thank You, wedding, thinking of you, get well, new baby and congratulations cards.
 
•  Christmas is the most popular seasonal card, followed by Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day.
 

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