Holiday 2011: Slow Shopping and Low Cyber Monday Impact

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One way of telling that December is here is just by looking at the full mall parking lots. With only a few weeks left to find the perfect presents, wrap them up nicely and then have others tear them open, people have been shopping away. As of December 4, over a quarter of consumers have finished more than 75 percent of their holiday shopping.

However, when comparing to last year’s numbers, this year’s shoppers are not quite ahead of the game. There are more procrastinators this year, with 21% of those surveyed having completed none of their holiday shopping compared to 16% last December.

Similar to the prior week, the top three most popular items to buy during the week of November 28 – December 4 were in clothing and shoes, toys and games, and gift cards with a very close win over electronics. Who would blame these shoppers for wanting to take the easy way out?  Once again, clothing and shoes came on top with more than half of the shoppers surveyed having purchased these items.

What was interesting to see was the small difference between online and in-store spending. Having started with Cyber Monday, one would think that online spending would be much higher than at brick and mortar. However, the amounts spent were very close, with shoppers stating that they spent an average of $192 online and $182 in store.

However it was no surprise that Amazon was the go-to site for online deals. The retailer saw a 10 percentage point increase in the number of holiday shoppers compared to the prior week. One possible reason for this jump was the extended deals. Trying to pro-long the attention of Cyber Monday, Amazon decided to do a Cyber Week. Will other online retailers follow suit? All we can do is wait and see.