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Top Holiday Trends + More

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Our latest BIG Call featured a very special guest speaker: Ellen Davis, VP at the National Retail Federation. BIG has been working with the NRF for nearly ten years to bring retailers, marketers, CPGs, and the media the latest insights on the Holiday season, straight from consumers.

For this month’s Call, Ellen highlighted four of her Top Ten Trends for Holiday 2011:

1.       Slow and Steady Wins the Race
While many current consumer sentiments are eerily similar to what we experienced in 2008, retailers and shoppers have been adjusting to the uncertain environment, which is good news. But there’s no doubt that continued consumer uncertainty and high unemployment is putting a damper on spending.

3.       …And?
Today’s consumer has high expectations – they already assume retailers will be offering low prices or strong promotions, and they want to know what they’re going to get on top of that. This “price plus” shopping mentality is all part of the value equation, which incorporates price with other elements like quality, convenience and service.

7.    This Year’s Theme: “Everyday Appropriate”
In 2008 and 2009, both years when holiday sales saw declines from the year before, shoppers were all about practical, necessity gift purchases. This year, there seems to be a little bit of wiggle room on the wish list. 

8.    The Night Owl Catches the Sales on Black Friday
With Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target opening their doors at midnight Thanksgiving night, you can be sure that more people will be staying up to go shopping rather than setting their alarms to wake up before the sun.

In addition to Ellen’s Holiday insights, we reviewed the latest data from the Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey on Consumer Confidence, Employment Outlook, Practicality in Purchasing, Personal Finance, as well as the 90 Day Outlook.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

© 2011, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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All is Not So “Merry and Bright” for Charities this Holiday Season

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

 

…but here comes Santa Claus Gen Y!

In a weak economy, Americans tend to cut back on everything, and unfortunately that includes donating to the less fortunate. This holiday season, our diffusion index for charitable contributions (those who will spend less than last year subtracted from those who will spend more) is negative, at -15%! (Check out the report here) 27.9% of consumers are planning to spend less on charities this year vs. 12.9% who plan to spend more. The majority (59.2%) plans to spend the same as last year (although that could mean zero dollars for some).

Despite the Grinchy economy, there is one group of consumers getting into the giving spirit this year…and quite unexpectedly, it’s Generation Y! Yep, those fresh-out-of-college and struggling to find work 20-somethings plan to spend MORE overall on charitable contributions this holiday season! 23.9% admit they will spend more, 61.2% plan to spend the same, while only 14.8% say they plan to spend less. That gives us an overall diffusion index in the black at 9.1%! Boomers, on the other hand, are cutting back the most – see for yourself!

Perhaps this shouldn’t be such a surprise—some of those in Generation Y live with their family, and most don’t have children yet. Many of them DO have jobs in innovative companies snatching up tech-savvy employees. Whatever their situation, members of Gen Y appear to have a bit of spare change. The top reason these youngsters gave for giving more this year was “Even though times are tough, there are others that need help more than I do,” with over half (55.4%) saying so. Another 40% simply have more to give.

These reasons ring true in my life as well. I am happily employed and do not have children (just a hamster, but he has only a tiny mouth to feed). There aren’t many children in my extended family either, and due to a variety of reasons (most of which involve debt), my extended family just isn’t giving gifts this year to anyone over the age of five. If you check out the report, you will see 15.3% of my Gen Yers are also cutting back on gifts for family and friends.

My immediate family has decided to give practical gifts. Top on my list is a crock pot and a gift card to my local grocery store! So, after saving up for the year and not having anyone to buy for, my family has picked out a few of our favorite charities to donate to. We are trying to get involved in toy drives and collections for local food pantries as well. It just feels like the right thing to do, especially at this time of year. It’s hard to imagine that there are people in my neighborhood that only want shampoo or a blanket for Christmas while so many others around the country are thinking about a new tablet or smartphone.

I realize that I have been blessed in my life, and I want to give back what I can to those who really need it. I may not be able to offer gold or even a pa rum pum pum pum on a drum (I am NOT musically gifted) but I can give someone the gift of warmth or a hot meal or even a roof!

Here at BIG, we want to know what you are doing this holiday season. Let us know if you are cutting back on donations in this rough economy or if you are able to help out others in their time of need. What are some of your favorite charities? Do you get involved in your community or church around the holidays? Are you taking care of yourself and your family first before helping others? We like to hear from you!

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