According to a new survey by GfK Custom Research North America, this Holiday season may be one of the more challenging in memory as 84% of consumers intend to spend less or the same amount while shopping as compared to last year. Breaking down the data, 40% of American households will spend less this year, while 44% will mirror their spending from 2010. Only 11% plan to spend more.
According to the report, the most significant drivers for shopping this year will be:
Lew Paine, senior vice president, GfK Consumer, says “... according to our Future Buy 2011 Consumer Study, more than half of the respondents agree that they are less loyal to any one retailer... they need to shop around more to find the best value... 50% feel that retailers and advertisers have less influence over them...”
A potential upside for retailers and marketers, says the report, is the 31% of Influential Americans who indicate they plan to spend more this year than in 2010, compared to 11% of general consumers. Influential Americans represent the 10% of the population most involved in creating change in society, according to GfK.
The majority of consumers will use traditional websites to find the best deal regardless of where they make their final purchase. 39% of respondents agree that they will use social deal hunting websites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, to find the best bargains this season.
Among the Influential Americans this percentage rises significantly. In a sign of these sites’ growing significance, 58% of Influential Americans will use deals sites and 66% will use social networks to find deals this season. The higher response among the bellwether Influentials suggests more growth for online deal-hunting.
Alison Chaltas, executive vice president, GfK Interscope, notes that ”... on-line shoppers are deeply involved in the shopping experience, using blogs, research sites, couponing and email exchanges to optimize their shopping results... “
While the eye of the American shopper is focused on finding the best deal, many Influential Americans say they will be spending less on air travel (42%) and hotel stays (33%) this year.
And while consumers spend less on travel, Americans plan to allocate more dollars to at-home activities this year. 80% of Influentials plan to spend the same amount or more on at home movies, while 74% will spend the same amount or more on home entertaining than in previous years.
Spending habits mirror the economic climate as consumers plan to keep their wallets closer to home, concludes the report.
As consumers report a reduction in the number of shopping trips they are making to stores, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on retailers to grab their attention and sales dollars as early as possible in the season.
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