Last Friday, millions of consumers were found standing in lines with their wallets and purses in hand — and this year men outspent women.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Black Friday Weekend Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more than 140 million shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $360.15, up 18.9 percent from last year’s $302.81 (spending data includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday.)
Procrastination makes some historically busy holiday shopping days cash in lower than expected, because many people put off their purchases until just before Christmas.
According to a report released by MasterCard Worldwide, Black Friday did not even rank as one of the top five busiest holiday shopping days last year, and consumers are not necessarily shopping online on Cyber Monday.
Once again debit/check cards will be the payment of choice this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
The survey shows that 39.1 percent of consumers will use their debit/check cards most often when making holiday purchases, up from 34.3 percent in 2005. Nearly one in three people (30.5 percent) will rely on their credit cards for holiday shopping and, for the first time in two years, the number of people using cash at the register will drop.
New devices are being installed in Safeway stores to make it easier for visually impaired shoppers to purchase items.
Shoppers who struggle with reading the touchscreen on point of sale payment machines will now be able to use a standard telephone keypad, which plugs into existing POS payment machines allowing them to enter their PIN, telephone number and other information privately and independently.
Advertisers now want their online clicks accounted for.
In reaction to advertiser questions, companies such as Google, Yahoo and LookSmart are working with industry groups to answer basic questions about how click-based advertising works.
Retailers are saying that online reviews might be boosting business.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about products, and now consumers can peruse the opinions of other buyers before making a purchase.
The trend is catching on, and stores are racing to include review features on their Web sites before the holiday season shopping begins.
Target Corp. is offering extended electronics service plans – just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The plans offer three years of coverage on all consumer electronics, except for contract cell phones.
Consumers can buy a service plan when they purchase an item or up to 90 days after a purchase. The three-year period starts on the date the item was purchased.
The plans range in price from $19 for products priced under $200 to $79 for products that sell for $1,000 or more.
Consumers appear to be seeking not only low prices, but better service for complex gadgets.
Pale pink is catching on in a big way.
Pink ribbons were first given out in 1992 to raise awareness about breast cancer, a disease that the American Cancer Society estimates will kill 40,970 women in 2006.
Now the number of companies and items supporting breast cancer awareness seems limitless, showing just how successful using “color as a brand symbol” can be.
Increased Internet shopping convenience means bringing the sales clerk to you — using technology, of course.
“Click to chat,” uses instant messaging to enable the online customer to ask a sales clerk questions. Another service, “click to call back,” lets customers click an icon that prompts them for their telephone number so a company representative can call them.
Motorola Inc. has unveiled “Instantmoto,” a “robotic store” stocked with phones and phone accessories. Not exactly a stuffed animal or a bag of chips, but a similar format.
The giant vending machines have a robotic arm that picks up an item and places it at the customer’s disposal.
Beginning as a pilot program in 20 locations nationwide, Instantmoto will be targeted at airports and malls. A Macy’s store in Chicago and the San Francisco International Airport will be the first to test the machine.