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  • 2006 Christmas Shoppers “Biggest Bargain Hunters in 20 Years”

    Charleston, SC, December 3, 2006…. Savvy shoppers are making it clear to retailers that they want bigger bargains and are willing to wait for them, according to the Christmas shopping survey conducted by America's Research Group (ARG) over the December 2-3 weekend. Of those shoppers (32.9%) who are waiting to finish before December 24th, a whopping 81.6% said they are waiting to get more gifts on sale at 50% off. This compared to 66.2% in both 2005 and in 2004 and 62.2% in 2002.

    Looking at the most recent data, C. Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of ARG, emphasized that the 2006 Christmas shopper is the biggest bargain-hunter he has seen in twenty years of consumer research on Christmas sales. “I’ve never seen such bargain-driven shoppers,” he said. Based on data from ARG’s first Christmas shopping survey in mid November, Beemer predicted that “sales should increase at a 3.1% level this year.”

    Wal-Mart was the #1 store on shoppers’ lists this weekend with 43.1% going there, but JCPenney had the best gains over last year to 28.1% in 2006 from only 16.6% in 2005.

    Gift cards proved to be the hottest gift item this year with 42.1% of consumers having already purchased them and another 20% planning to before Christmas. In 2005, only 24.8% had bought gift cards by this time, with 17.5% expecting to buy them before Christmas.

    As for on-line shopping, Beemer says, “Cyber Monday is a hoax.” Only 18.5% went on-line this past Monday compared to 17.8% last year. Only 14.8% of consumers say they will go on-line to find a better price after shopping at stores. This compares with 22.4% of consumers who went on-line last year to find a better price. The Cyber Monday theory was that consumers would rush to make purchases on-line on the Monday after Black Friday either to get better prices or to order from their computer at work. “Neither is true,” Beemer asserts.

    The big shopping push in 2006 will be after December 15th, as 37.7% of consumers don’t expect to finish their shopping until December 20th and another 32.9% don’t expect to be done until December 24th.

    Consumers still feel dissatisfied with the way stores are being decorated for Christmas. Over 40% (40.8%) say that stores are not decorated as much today as in years past, up from 23.8% last year.

    ARG surveyors interviewed 800 adults between Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3, 2006. The study has an error factor of plus or minus 4.3%. ARG will conduct two more Christmas retail surveys.

    America's Research Group is the consumer behavior marketing firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. America's Research Group's expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers in the nation for 27 years.

    Contacts: Britt Beemer, ARG, tel: 843 345 0939 BBA Communications: Barbara Burns/ Eve Edwards Tel: 212 486 1140 / 516 859 3402