Do you hear what I hear? That wasn’t eight tiny reindeer up on the housetop recently, but the soft sounds of mouse clicks bringing joy to all of those good little girls and boys, as holiday shopping online topped out “Hot or Not?” segment for December.
Those who love the annual Christmas tradition of fighting for a parking space, scouring the [sale] racks for perfect gifts, and braving the long checkout lines, however, kept holiday shopping in stores alive at #2 in our heat spectrum this month. Buoyed by a large proportion of celebrants under 35, New Year’s Eve Parties clocked in at #3.
And perhaps one of the stories we’ll hear most about in 2013, mom-to-be Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, bested the results for Princes William and Harry earlier in the fall. She’s certainly shaping up to be the next people’s princess [at least among us Yanks] – particularly among women 35+.
Proof that you can put anything in front of the word “diamond” and find gift-giving success among the female crowd: about two in five women gave brown/chocolate diamonds two thumbs up. Ditto for cashmere. And rounding out fashion, while ugly christmas sweaters registered pretty cool on our heat-o-meter this month, those under 35 found the humor in this new holiday tradition.
Finally, while it appears that consumers certainly intend to celebrate as the ball drops for 2013, don’t expect them to be rockin’ with Ryan Seacrest.
For more on what we found “Hot or Not?” for the month of December, plus other consumer highlights, check out this month’s video briefing:
Happy New Year!
© 2012, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development
Holiday 2012 has been an interesting selling season. Consumers are cautiously optimistic, planning to spend slightly above what they did in 2011, though the economy / unemployment are still troublesome and the fiscal cliff could still turn out to be the Grinch who stole Christmas. Undoubtedly, though, the shining star of the season has been the resurgence of gift cards.
While gift cards have been perennially touted as the perfect last-minute gift, a look at this year’s insights shows us that gift card buying patterns are shifting. For 2012, consumers aren’t waiting until Christmas Eve for these purchases; they are checking them off their lists much sooner. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly one-third (32.6%) of Black Friday Weekend* shoppers made a gift card purchase, up a whopping 40% from a year ago (23.1%). Further, as of the first week of December, holiday shoppers overall continue to pace ahead of previous years’ buying habits; two out of five (39.2%) have already purchased these stored-cash cards as gifts this season, up 25% from 2011 (31.4%).
So is 2012 shaping up to be the Year of the Gift Card? You betcha. So let’s take a look at three reasons why gift cards are a “must buy” among holiday shoppers this year.
1. We want gift cards – badly.
While they have been atop consumers’ wish lists since 2007, intent to buy gift cards sputtered during the recession as consumers reached for bargain merchandise that wouldn’t quite reveal the total dollar amount paid. This year, though, a record number of consumers are requesting them (59.8%, much higher than the second most request gift – apparel and accessories – at 49.1%), and a record number of shoppers are responding that they are planning to buy them (59.2%, nearly eclipsing the most purchased category – again apparel and accessories – at 59.7%).
Bonus: Buying a gift card spares the giver and receiver from that awkward “here’s the receipt for the return” exchange.
2. Gift cards are still practical gifts.
Gift cards may be tempting this year because they can still be perfectly practical, which is on what the near majority of consumers are remaining focused in this uncertain economy. Recipients can buy what they want or what they need – and either way, it’s money well spent on behalf of the giver and better than a sweater relegated to the back of someone’s closet, no? Shoppers may have a little extra cash in their pockets this year, but if they are going to spend their hard-earned (and hard-saved) pennies, they’ll do it wisely. And remember, a $50 gift card to a discounter might be one man’s (or woman’s) groceries at Target but another’s new home décor from Tar-Zhay.
Bonus: And speaking of sweaters, gift cards are one-size-fits-all, so no worrying about whether or not Aunt Clara really did lose that 10 lbs. this year when debating between a medium and a large [oy].
3. We can buy gift cards “on sale.”
Back in the day (so…five years ago), buying a $50 gift card meant that the purchaser would fork over $50 cash. And these days, with retailers and restaurateurs bending over backward to bring customers through their doors, it seems that incentives to buy gift cards are becoming increasingly creative as well as prevalent. Nowadays, a $100 gift card might come with a $20 bonus to use later (Merry Christmas to me, right?) Or, and this is one of the examples I saw a few times during my Black Friday exploits, a pack of five $20 gift cards might be discounted 20% to $80. Gift card purchasers may also be receiving more indirect incentives to purchase, such as grocery stores offering frequent shopper / fuel rewards or salons giving away coupon books for future services with gift cards purchases.
Bonus: Shop wisely and gift cards purchases can still come with that “you’ll-never-guess-what-I-paid-for-it” cachet, which was the feel good saying among holiday shoppers during the recession.
So are gift cards changing the way we approach shopping for holiday gifts? Certainly. However, when and if gift exchanges turn into gift card exchanges, I’ll bet we’ll see a renaissance of more traditional gift giving.
* “Black Friday Weekend” is defined as Thursday (Thanksgiving), Friday (Black Friday), Saturday, and Sunday.
This month’s Consumer Snapshot is ready! The video below is a concise look at a few trending topics for the month of December, designed to give you a BIG picture view of current consumers.
Here’s a brief overview of what we’re seeing from consumers in December 2012:
- Will the fiscal cliff prove to be the Grinch who stole Christmas? Confidence backs down two points from November.
- While the official unemployment rate registered at 7.7% for November,this doesn’t seem to be quite the hiring miracle consumers were hoping to see this season.
- After the buying bonanza that was Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers’ penchant for practicality rises in December.
- It appears that along with trimming the tree this month, consumers will also be trimming their budgets.
- Walmart versus Kohl’s is a toss-up this month in Women’s Clothing.
- Amazon.com climbs to record customer share in Electronics.
- It’s a frosty 90 Day Outlook with spending plans looking downward from Nov-12, Dec-11.
- What’s Hot? Holiday shopping…online.
Be sure to check out the NEW Consumer Snapshot InsightCenter™. When you register for complimentary access to this InsightCenter™, you’ll have the ability to segment an advance preview of our all-star insights on consumer confidence, employment, shopping strategies, and future purchase plans by several key demographic groups. You can also download this month’s text summary (which includes additional insights) as well as the PowerPoint analysis through this InsightCenter™.
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© 2012, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.
When Amazon.com introduced the Kindle Fire in 2011, it was a budget-friendly game-changer for the growing tablet market that certainly shook the Apple tree. Fast forward to holiday 2012 and Apple – facing declining market share for its once superbly dominant iPad – has responded directly to the value-priced threat (from Amazon, Google, et al.) with its own $329 entry, the iPad mini. Not to be outdone, Amazon has recently launched the upgraded Kindle Fire HD – at the still very wallet-friendly $199 price point.
iPad mini sales are expected to exceed 5 million units this quarter, while the world’s largest online retailer touts the Kindle Fire HD as the “#1 most gifted product on Amazon.” And all of the back-and-forth between these two giants is enough to send Santa into a tizzy. With the shopping days until Christmas now numbered, let’s take a look at how the nearly 9,000 consumers we talk to each month feel about these two new tablets, courtesy of our popular “Hot or Not?” feature.
As it turns out, if you are planning on gifting either of these devices, you’re likely to make the recipient pretty happy. The majority of Adults 18+ rated the both the Kindle Fire HD (56.9%) and iPad mini (58.2%) as “hot,” though Apple’s device boasts a slight edge.
And if your recipient is a Gen X-er, you’re in luck: those born between 1965 and 1982 were the most likely to be fanning the flames on both of these “hot” tablets. Millenials followed, but expressed sentiment more in line with the general population. The Silent generation (much like its affinity for Apple iOS) and Boomers were more likely to boost the temperature on the iPad mini, rather than the Kindle Fire HD.
The upside for Amazon? It appears that we’ve stumbled upon a new slogan: Kindle Fire HD: Not Your Grandmother’s Tablet
With the Festival of Lights commencing on the evening of December 8, we thought we’d take a quick peek at the holiday shopping plans of this small but powerful group of spenders.
On average, Hanukkah celebrants anticipated allotting $945 to gifts, décor, cards, food and flowers this year, 26% higher than holiday shoppers in general. Two-thirds of Hanukkah shoppers are also expected to take advantage of the seasonal deals and promotions to “self-gift.” And while gift cards, books/CDs/DVDs, and apparel top their wish lists, they are 35% more like than average to request jewelry this year.
We’ve created the special infographic below to illustrate all of the details:
For more insights on the holiday season, visit the NRF’s Holiday Headquarters.
© 2012, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.
I’ve been making a list, checking it twice, storing it in my mobile device…and clearly singing as I do so. Nearly 3 in 10 (29.7%) Mobile Users say they do the same—minus the singing. However, according to Prosper Mobile Insights™, the most popular merry mobile activity among smartphone and tablet users is taking pictures (85.0%), so get ready for all the Instagram notifications! The majority also plan to check the weather and keep in touch with loved ones they won’t get to see for the holidays, thanks to mobile making it so easy to share every holiday moment with those near and far.
Top mobile holiday activities are similar across genders, and there really isn’t much of a battle between men and women when it comes to spreading holiday cheer via technology. Women win the title of “Cheermeister” on nearly all mobile activities analyzed. From sharing holiday experiences through social media, to looking for holiday recipes and even purchasing products, Female Mobile Users appear more likely than their male counterparts to get merry with mobile this year:
Click here to access the complimentary Mobile InsightCenter™ and see all of the holiday mobile activities!
Women are also much more prone than men to use their smartphones and tablets for discovering new decorating ideas, keeping track of upcoming holiday events (thank you Google calendar for reminding me where I need to be all the time!) and keeping gift lists. If you are like me, that gift list doesn’t just say “shirt for brother” – it lists the brand, color, size, special fit and perhaps even a photo so you can just show a store associate and quickly locate what you need.
Speaking of shopping…searching for gifts, stores and deals is another hot holiday activity to accomplish via mobile among both men and women, along with purchasing products. To find out more about how Mobile Users prefer to make mobile purchases, be sure to check out our latest release: Browsers/Apps More Popular than Swipe/Tap Method for Mobile Holiday Purchasing, according to Prosper Mobile Insights™
Source: Prosper Mobile Insights™ Mobile Survey, NOV-12, N=333
© 2012, Prosper®