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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 01, 2009

Nielsen: Upcoming holiday season festive but frugal

Nielsen is projecting an extremely modest rise in holiday sales this year as Americans keep one eye on the economy and the other on their purse strings.

by Helen Leggatt

Around 42% of American consumers plan to spend less this holiday season compared with last, according to recent projections released by Nielsen. That figure represents a 7% YoY rise in those who intend to spend less.

Under half (44%) expect to spend about the same amount.

Despite this, Nielsen forecasts that holiday sales will rise 0.03% this year, accounting for $90 billion.

"Americans have undergone a fundamental change in how they spend their money, and the days of stretching finances to make purchases not deemed as necessary are over, at least for the time being," said James Russo, VP, Global Consumer Insights at the Nielsen Company.

Americans will continue to focus on value throughout the holiday season, with traditional and essential gifts the most popular. Traditional items such as toys, electronic goods and clothing will all feature high on shopping lists, and many consumers intend to spend more on gift cards.

Online retailers that offer value, including discount stores and savings clubs, will all be attractive to online shoppers as they eke out their holiday gift budgets, as will flexible delivery options, shipping deals and gift-wrapping/eco-packaging services.

There's no time like the present to start evaluating your value offering, particularly since Google reported last month that consumers have started their holiday shopping earlier than ever this year.

"This demonstrates that consumer are not waiting for the traditional kick off to the season, many are already spending time online researching gift ideas and heading into the store or to your site to make that special purchase," said Eric Lopez of the Google Retail Team.

Tags: Christmas, forecast, holidays, online shopping, online spending

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