Friday, November 27, 2009

The 12 Weeks of Christmas: A Yahoo! Survey

Here's another article that points out the benefits to online shopping this Christmas.  This survey shows that buying online is now an accepted mode of buying gifts and will be a large portion of the Christmas spending market this year.

To me it is a "no brainer"--if I can get what I want and have it delivered where I want without having to drive across town and stand in lines, without being accosted by numerous strangers, without having to deal with tired, underpaid sales people who are just a little irritable, then I want to do it!

When and what consumers will be buying this holiday season 
christmastreeIt wouldn’t surprise anyone to know that the recession has changed the way consumers think about spending, but the question on your minds right now is likely, “How will it affect my holiday sales in 2009?”
To help answer that question, Yahoo! worked with Decipher, Inc. to create the “12 Weeks of Christmas” Consumer Survey. The survey, conducted in October, polled 2587 online Americans . They told us when they’re planning to shop, what they plan to purchase across retail categories, where they plan to purchase, and what offers/promotions people are likely to take advantage of this holiday season. We’re broken it down a bit, to bring you the highlights:
Fears affect shopping
The majority of people polled (76%) said they were worried about the rising cost of basics such as gas, food and services. More than half (55%) said they felt the government isn’t doing enough to fix the economy and 52% of people polled said they that they were worried that the US won’t be able to get out of the recession. Almost half of people polled (48%) said they’re worried that something will happen to their income and they won’t be able to support their families.  So clearly the economy is weighs on consumers’ minds.
Now let’s take a look at how these concerns may impact holiday shopping. More than half of all people surveyed (53%) said they’re planning to cut back on holiday shopping because of the current economic situation. And 21% of people polled said they planned on making gifts, rather than buying.
According to the survey, the outlook for 2010 is more positive than negative, with 40% of people interviewed saying they were somewhat hopeful that the economy will improve in 2010. 18% said they were very hopeful for improvement and 9% said they were extremely hopeful. All told, the “hopefuls” totaled 68%, which far outweighs the “not hopefuls.”
Keeping pace with last year’s spending
The poll also found that holiday shopping is well underway for Yahoo visitors, with 35% saying they’ve already begun shopping, 27% saying they planned to start right after Thanksgiving and 15% saying they planned to actually start on Thanksgiving weekend. A brave 9% will start just days before Christmas, most likely those without children.
As for who’s getting what, the survey indicated that the majority of people polled (58%) planned to give gifts to spouses or significant others, followed up by parents (54%), children (54%), friends (44%), siblings (43%) and of course, themselves (28%). Interestingly, nearly a quarter (23%) of people polled said they’d spend on gifts for pets, which should make for some very happy cats and dogs this holiday season.
Despite sentiment about the economy, many consumers polled plan to keep pace with their budgets from last year. 64% of people polled said they plan to spend about the same on their spouses/significant other as they did in 2008. 68% of people polled said they planned to spend the same on parents and 63% said they planned to maintain the same spending amount on their children. Of all the potential recipients, planned spending was down the most for friends (31%) and the consumers themselves (33%).
Internet buying is big
Internet shopping is expected to be big in 2009. 58% of people polled said they planned to shop/research purchases both online and in stores for the 2009 holidays and 58% said they plan to actually purchase gifts both online and in stores. 31% of people polled said they shop and research online only and 9% indicated they planned to actually purchase gifts online only. Additionally, the time that consumers will spend shopping online is on the rise: 50% of people polled said they intend to use the Internet more this year to research holiday gifts than they did last year and 48% said that the economy is a direct reason that they intend to more shopping online in 2009.
The study also indicated that coupons and promotions are a huge factor in holiday shopping, with 84% of people polled indicating that they’re likely to take advantage of price discounts or sales this holiday season. 73% said that they plan to take advantage of free shipping and 61% said that they would likely use coupons from magazines and newspapers. Over half of people polled (55%) said that they planned to take advantage of online coupons or discounts for their holiday shopping.
Lastly, the study also indicates that Yahoo! shoppers appear to be the heaviest shoppers and buyers across multiple retail channels.
So what does all this mean? Well it means that the Internet is becoming critical to the shopping process. Nearly 90% will be using the online space for shopping/researching and more than 70% will use it to purchase gifts. Without a doubt, online shopping is on the minds of consumers, so advertisers should be prepared to take advantage of it, come the holidays.
We may not be out the tunnel just yet, but as the 12 Weeks of Christmas survey indicates—there is absolutely a light at the end of it.

—Noah Belson, Content Quality Editor
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