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'Tis the Season
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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The consumers have spoken. Just as marketers and retailers have been (both eagerly and anxiously) planning for the holiday season, consumers have been planning out their holiday shopping as well. Do your strategic plans match up with the consumer insights provided by the National Retail Federation’s recently released 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Action survey?
The annual survey was conducted by BIGresearch, polling 8,585 consumers between October 4 and 11. According to Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director for BIGresearch, “In 2009, it was all about personal and practical, and last year consumers wanted to treat their loved ones to something special —  this year, it’s a little bit of both.”

Over 60% of American consumers responded that the U.S. economy will affect their holiday spending. In an effort to make every dollar count, consumers are expected to partake in more deals, discounts, and comparison shopping. When asked which factor would be most important during holiday shopping, an overwhelming 41.6% said sales and/or discounts. Another 59.9% say they plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases. Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation, explained that shoppers will be “meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar… Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty, or stellar customer service.”
The time is now; it’s already October 24 and nearly 40% of consumers will have started their holiday shopping before Halloween next week. Ready? Set? Go.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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