The environment is increasingly on consumers' radar screens, according to the 22nd Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends, commissioned by Deloitte. The survey reports that almost one in five consumers (18 percent) will purchase more “eco-friendly” products this holiday season than in the past, and a similar number (17 percent) will shop at more “green” retailers.
Additionally, almost one-third of consumers (27 percent) surveyed will use fewer plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores this holiday season, and one in five (20 percent) will consider not wrapping holiday gifts to conserve paper. Surprisingly, these responses concerning the environment and holiday shopping intentions were consistent across gender, age and income groups.
How this environmentalism will translate into gift purchases remains to be seen. In the survey, clothing continued its four-year run as the second most popular gift category (gift cards have been #1 for four years); however, the popularity of clothing as a gift has fallen over the past several years, especially among younger groups. Toys, including games, dolls, and computer/video games and consoles, ranked third. CDs/DVDs/tapes and books continued their four-year decline.
The top specifically-named gifts that consumers intend to buy for friends and family included Apple’s iPod, Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation. Other top gifts mentioned included recently released video games Halo 3, Guitar Hero III, Barbie and Transformers. Also in the top 10 this year: jewelry and watches, televisions, and experience gifts such as travel, spa services, and tickets for entertainment events.
The survey also found that gift cards/certificates continued to be the #1 gift that consumers plan to buy; the top venues for these gift cards are discount department stores (such as Wal-Mart and Target) and large home improvement stores (such as Home Depot and Lowes).
For those who don't receive gift cards this holiday season, the good news is that the majority of the gifts received will likely be returnable, if needed. The great majority (75 percent) of survey respondents said they prefer to shop at stores that have hassle-free return policies. One-quarter (25 percent) of consumers said that last season they returned or exchanged gifts; they did so 2.4 times.
In addition, almost one-quarter (22 percent) said they re-gifted last holiday season. Women were much more likely to do so than men, as were younger consumers. Those that re-gifted did so an average of 2.8 times.
Almost two-thirds of consumers (63 percent) say they enjoy the experience and spirit of the holidays; however, a similar amount (61 percent) say they avoid holiday shopping crowds – an increase from the 56 percent that said this in 2006.
Consumers said that over-commercialization, rude people/bad manners and crowded stores are the aspects of holiday shopping that they find most frustrating; surprisingly, younger age groups were most likely to cite these frustrations.
Seven in 10 consumers (70 percent) said they would do part of their holiday shopping online, and one in five (19 percent) said they will shop primarily or entirely online this holiday season. Almost half (48 percent) say they like the convenience of shopping with multi-channel retailers – that is, those that have some combination of stores, Web sites and catalogs.More information can be found at www.CRMindustry.com