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Ten Ways to Spot a Layaway Shopper this Holiday Season

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

While several major retailers, including Walmart, Kmart, and Toys R Us, have lowered or eliminated their layaway fees in efforts to spur holiday shopping, new insights from the BIGinsight™ November survey of more than 9,000 consumers reveal that this tactic doesn’t seem to be leading to a rise in this place-it-on-hold-and-pay-over-time purchase behavior. Just over one in ten holiday shoppers (12.3%) indicates they are using or planning to use layaway when shopping for gifts this season, relatively unchanged from one year ago (12.7%).

With a flatlining number of consumers boarding the layaway train for 2012, it appears that this Great Depression-era policy is more bygone gimmick rather than a modern day marvel. However, further analysis of layaway users uncovers a specific type of holiday shopper. So without further ado, let’s take a look at ten characteristics that help identify this special group of consumers.

Ten Characteristics of Layaway Shoppers

1. Layaway shoppers wouldn’t place in a Santa look-a-like contest. Nearly 75% more likely to have children in the household compared to average holiday shoppers, while layaway users might be more prone to play Santa this year for the kiddos, they just won’t look like the jolly old guy. Six years younger on average than typical holiday shoppers, layaway-ers are also far less likely to refer to themselves as “retired.”

2. Despite tighter budgets, layaway-ers intend to spend more this holiday season. As might be expected, those utilizing the budget-friendly aspects of layaway tend to earn less (about $49,000 per year) than holiday shoppers in general ($56,000/year). Despite this, though, two out of five (41.6%) layaway shoppers intend to spend “more” on the holiday season this year than they did back in 2011. Just 21.0% of shoppers in general are working within expanded holiday budgets this year.*

3. Layaway shoppers have a holly jolly outlook for the economy… Consumers reported that they were feeling better about the economy in November, but the sentiment among layaway users is downright giddy: 54.7% say they are very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, much higher than typical holiday shoppers (40.4%). The issue of employment, though, is another story. About a third (32.7%) of layaway shoppers fears an increasing in the number of layoffs over the next six months, higher than holiday shoppers in general (22.0%). Layaway-ers are also slightly more concerned about becoming laid off themselves.

4. …Yet remain conservative with their everyday finances. Lower average incomes and greater concerns for layoffs are likely playing into layaway shoppers’ penchant for scrimping and saving in their everyday lives. Compared to holiday shoppers in general, more layaway-ers are making plans to pay down debt (38.6%), decrease overall spending (35.4%), and increase their savings (32.5%) over the next three months. Additionally, a higher proportion (28.6%) is attempting to pay with cash more often, which brings us to point #5…

5. Cold hard cash is key with layaway shoppers. For holiday purchases specifically, while debit cards are the preferred method of payment among layaway shoppers (49.9% plan to use them most often), more than a third of (35.5%) still plans to utilize cash most often, 40% higher than holiday shoppers in general (25.2%). Layaway shoppers are 60% less likely to use credit cards most often for holiday purchases than typical holiday shoppers.*

6. These early birds are getting the worms… Arguably one of the brightest benefits of using layaways services is the ability to place a hold on hot holiday merchandise before it flies off the shelves. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that – as of early November – seven out of 10 layaway users (69.1%) had begun their holiday shopping as opposed to just 52.8% of holiday shoppers in general.*

7. …But still plan to bargain-hunt with the best of ‘em on Black Friday. And speaking of early bird tendencies, layaway shoppers are quite the night owls too: the majority (56.3%) is planning to shop Black Friday weekend, making them 75% more likely to brave the crowds than typical holiday shoppers (31.5%).*

8. Layaway shoppers use their connections to find best deals. While traditional advertising circulars are their top source for keeping track of holiday sales and promotions, layaway shoppers are more likely to connect on Facebook or Twitter, use retailer apps, and refer to coupon websites (i.e. RetailMeNot.com, FatWallet.com) compared to holiday shoppers in general.*

Do you plan to use any of the following to keep track of retailers' holiday sales and promotions this year?

9. While they embrace their inner fashionistas, it’s electronics and toys that are bound for the layaway bins. While layaway shoppers are more likely to lean to familiar fashion labels and the newest trends/styles versus holiday shoppers in general, apparel is less likely to be put on hold compared to electronics and toys.

Do you plan to or have you already put holiday gifts in Layaway for any of the following merchandise categories?

10. Discounters are most likely to get those layaway dollars. When it comes to the retailers shoppers are utilizing for layaway services, discounters score a definitive win here. Nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of holiday shoppers planning to use layaway this season will head to Walmart, while 42.2% say they will sign up with Kmart. Fewer will make use of the programs at Toys R Us (21.2%), Sears (15.2%), Burlington Coat Factory (12.4%), Marshall’s (12.1%), or TJ Maxx (9.9%).

* Source: National Retail Federation/BIGinsight™. For more insights on the holiday season, visit the NRF’s Holiday Headquarters.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com as a contribution to the Prosper Now blog.

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New October Insights in a Snap!

October 16, 2012 1 comment

This month’s Consumer Snapshot is ready! The video below is a concise look at a few trending topics for the month of October, designed to give you a BIG picture view of current consumers.

Here’s a brief overview of what we’re seeing from consumers in October 2012:

– Beware the fiscal cliff: confidence declines from September
– Employment outlook improves, but still just 1 in 5 expect “fewer” layoffs over the next 6 months
– Practicality when purchasing remains intact
– Increasing savings reaches highest October reading in 6 years
– Walmart wins in Apparel, Shoes
– Toys R Us, Amazon.com see YOY gains in Children’s Toys
– Holiday ’12 is shaping up to be a bit brighter, with the 90 Day Outlook improving for all categories
– DSLR buying trend? Plans to purchase digital cameras highest in 2 years
– Meet Little Miss “Not” Hot for October: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

 

And NEW this month is the Consumer Snapshot InsightCenter™. When you register for complimentary access to this new 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™.

Interested in becoming a BIG VIP? Please click here to sign up for access to a host of complimentary insights, from our briefings and webinars to press releases and more.

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

BIG on the Street: Black Friday, Part I

November 28, 2011 3 comments

The highlight of my Black Friday? The 30 second checkout at Target…but more on that in a bit.

Black Friday shopping is tradition for my best friend, her mother, and me. We’ve woken up before the crack of dawn for nearly twenty years since before we could drive, but this was the first year we headed out on Thanksgiving night. The 9pm specials at Toys R Us were just too good for my friend (a mother of two) to pass up.

Black Friday Scene

Our 9pm arrival at Toys R Us, camera crews waiting. (click to enlarge)

In order to keep the image of the perfect Thanksgiving intact for her young children, we started out after they were tucked in for bed. We arrived at Toys R Us (TRU) shortly before they opened, as three local TV crews readied themselves to record the madness. Our destination TRU is located in a shopping center with five other big box stores, still closed for the night. The line of shoppers stretched across the entire length of the shopping center, and we were at the very end of that line.

Toys R Us Line

We waited for an hour outside in this line. (click to enlarge)

It was nearly 10pm before we were admitted to the store. With no toys on my shopping list this year, it was my job to help my friend hunt down her deals (which seemed to be scattered randomly throughout the store). I left my friend to jump in line while she waited for a sales associate (and a ladder) to pull down the last of a doorbuster toy still in its shipping box WAY at the top of the shelving. Yes, the reasoning escaped me as to why said toy was in stock, yet not on the shelves…I was further confused when the store manager decided to nix the ladder idea and tell my friend she was out of luck. Once the manager was out of view, my friend scaled the shelving…while this action was a bit extreme – and dangerous – better customer service would have made this a non-issue.

Target Line

The line for the midnight opening at Target. (click to enlarge)

After standing in line for more than an hour, we finally made it out of TRU. As someone not buying for children, this wasn’t the best start to my Black Friday. But things picked up as we walked over to Target, located next door to the shopping center. It took us about 10 minutes of walking before we reached the end of the line at 11:15pm, which stretched across the store and down the end of the parking lot. A mutual friend met us here, and we waited for midnight to strike and Target to open.

Entrepreneurial spirit? Pizza for sale in the Target line. (click to enlarge)

For the obvious reason, we were not the first group of shoppers in our Target store. On my list were some cheap DVDs and a doorbuster gift; my expectations for finding this doorbuster were not high, knowing how far back in line we were.  As we shuffled closer to the store, the excitement in the crowd grew. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, quite a contrast from the fist fights, brawls, and pepper spray incidents I later read about. As the first-in-lines came out with their deals, they waived to a cheering crowd. It was great.

Target Instore

30 second wait in the Target line. (click to enlarge)

Surprisingly, the wait was quick, and we made in into the store at about 12:15am, splitting up and agreeing to meet at the checkout line. I found my DVDs and my gift – still in stock – and headed to the checkout at the same time as my friend. The “line” was surprisingly short; in past years, lines have woven throughout the store, so it’s likely that extended hours spread the volume of shoppers out a bit. No joke, we were out of the store at 12:25am. Quickest. Target. Trip. Ever.

As we headed over to the mall, we received a call from our mutual friend…we had left her in our dust back at Target. Not a seasoned Black Friday shopper, she told us that she was still looking around in the store and was wondering where we were. She obviously wasn’t living by our Black Friday motto: Grab, Buy, Exchange Later.

Black Friday adventures continue on Tuesday, so stay tuned. And for more Black Friday insights, collected over the weekend by BIG, head over to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Headquarters.

©2011, Prosper®

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