In an effort to get a pulse check on the upcoming holidays, Zoomerang, an online survey and polling tool, fielded studies to find out how small to medium-size businesses and consumers plan to approach the season. The survey findings suggest that the current state of the economy is not dampening consumer spending or retailer preparation as compared with 2009.
Despite the lack of confidence in the economy, retailers are predicting a stronger 2010 holiday season compared with 2009, according to a U.S. survey of 340 midmarket retailers. Even though consumers share a lack of confidence in the economy, the survey found more than half of the nearly 2,200 consumers surveyed indicated they will increase or maintain holiday spending levels this year.
“Like many of the retailers, consumers are taking precautionary measures by placing essential items on their wish lists,” said Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. “In order to make the most of their stretched budgets, the survey suggests that more than half of the people will be searching online for the best deals possible.”
In fact, Terry noted the survey found only 36 percent of the consumers surveyed plan to do all their shopping in-person at retail stores. The majority of consumers-64 percent-will do some or all of their holiday shopping online. While retailers took precautionary measures earlier in the year, such as decreasing inventory or marketing budgets, many are ramping up in preparation for the holidays. More than 25 percent of the businesses surveyed plan to increase inventory, hours, customer service, and marketing and/or social media budgets.
The economy does seem to impact willingness to purchase luxury goods. Retailers should consider that 25 percent of the consumer respondents indicated they purchased luxury items in 2009, while only 55 percent of that segment plans to do so again in 2010. Additionally, among the top items placed on the wish lists of consumers surveyed were clothing, electronics/appliances and books/music/DVD/games at 22 percent, 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
“Compared to large retail chains, the flexibility and nimble nature of small to midsized retailers enables them to adapt quickly to shifts in the market and economy,” Terry said. “As a result, these businesses are able to make the most of a cautious holiday spending season.”