What you can expect this holiday shopping season
It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to start holiday shopping. According to the recent National Retail Federation’s 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, it looks like the early bird may get the only worm. The survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that consumers are aggressively looking for bargains this year. In addition, retailers are greatly cutting back on their inventory due to weak demand. In other words, it’s going to be a push-and-pull battle between retailers and consumers.
The main reason Americans still feel affected by the recession is due to the high unemployment rates. When those begin to go down, Americans’ spending will be less uncertain.
The second trend indicates that it’s really all about the economy. As a result of the lingering down economy, consumer behavior is changing. This year, consumers will shop more at discount and even thrift stores. They will also give joint gifts as well as make gifts to give.
The third development that stands out this year is that sales and promotions are king. Traditionally, many consumers wait until the last minute to get the best deals. This year however, they might miss out since retailers are keeping much smaller inventories. Retailers advise consumers to take advantage of the early promotions this season.
Fourthly, pay attention to payment methods. Over the past year, consumers have begun paying more with cash, checks, and debit cards instead of credit cards. This trend might increase even more as a result of newly instituted credit card fees.
Fifthly, remember that it’s the thought that counts. Since consumers are cutting back on their holiday budgets, that old saying will likely be used quite frequently this year. Greeting cards is one area that the survey found was not being greatly affected. Some consumers are expected to replace a gift with a greeting card.