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  • According to Britt Beemer’s ARG/UBS Christmas Forecast Out Today Americans Break Forecast Records As Never Before!!

    CHARLESTON, SC – According to the Christmas Shopping Survey released from America’s Research Group and UBS today, more Americans cut back on their credit card usage than ever before. Moreover, more shopped at discount stores; more bought electronics; more said they actually completed 90% of their Christmas shopping over the long Black Friday weekend; and more completed their shopping routines at the first or second place they visited – yes! no high gas prices for them!!

    Call it the start of the Wallet Watch Season – for the first time during any Christmas season in survey history, Americans are watching their wallets – this time, not just watching but taking great care to make their purchases in a truly responsible way - to research their gift choices in advance (the majority did – in great numbers!) and to look for gifts that were not only on sale but satisfied a lot of folks at once – i.e., the gift of the season is the group gift – a flat-screen TV at a great price that works for the whole family or the new family computer!! And in keeping with the new responsible Wallet Watching, a huge percentage – again the greatest in Survey history – went for those specials at odd a.m. hours if it meant signing on to the New Wallet Watcher trend.

    "This shows that the consumer is really taking care, perhaps for the first time in such great, great numbers," said Britt Beemer, Chairman and Founder of America’s Research Group. "Americans across the board were affected by personal debt as well as job security, food and gas prices and even concerns about the direction of the country (they’d like to see things change quickly – i.e., in the next month or so!!). They are really paying attention. The next big surge will be the Kid’s Surge – when all those parents who put off back-to-school shopping take off in droves to do it right before Christmas."

    Key Survey Results:
    Over 3 in 5, 61.6% just bought early bird specials on Friday.

    Nearly 9 in 10, 85.2% shopped for early bird specials on Friday.

    Only 1 in 8, 13.2% delaying any buying until Cyber Monday.

    Only 2 in 5, 38.9% spent more than they planned on Friday due to the specials.

    4 in 5 Friday shoppers went to three type stores.

    First 46.0% discount stores
    Second 17.3% department stores
    Third 15.0% electronics stores

    Only 6.0% of Friday shoppers feel they could save by buying later.

    Over 7 in 10, 72.1% of Saturday/Sunday shoppers saw ads prior to shopping items in the store.

    Under 1 in 5, 18.8% will definitely buy on-line on Monday, making Cyber Monday a retail hoax!

    Credit cards are not popular with only 16.3% using them this year compared to 30.9% last year.

    Only 1 in 3, 31.9% shopped an enclosed mall over the weekend but nearly 1 in 2, 48.0% said they shopped a mall last year.

    Historical Highlights Break All Records!!

    The number of Friday only shoppers is the highest in 11 years.

    Friday shoppers spent the most money in discount stores, 46.0%, an 11 year high. Electronics stores, 15.0%, a 5 year high. Department stores, 17.3%, the lowest since 2006.

    A solid number, 14.4% finished 90% or more of their shopping compared to 10.5% last year.

    Electronics is the all time winner for the weekend with 31.1% compared to last year at 23.3%.

    The weekend store winners are discount stores at 40.7%, down from 49.1% last year; department stores dropped from 23.3% to 17.5% but electronics stores doubled from 10.3% to 21.3%.

    Wal-Mart shopping levels are flat for the Christmas season so far at 64.5% compared to 65.3% last year.

    The ARG/UBS research consisted of 1000 telephone interviewed November 19 to 21, 2010 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%. The next ARG/UBS shopping survey will be next weekend. The surveys will continue every week through the shopping season. America’s Research Group, one of the nation’s foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms, marked its 30th anniversary in 2009. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, published by McGraw-Hill.

    UBS Global Equity Research provides the broad global perspective and in-depth analysis that institutional investors need to make good investment decisions. With more than 600 analysts, associates, strategists and economists in EMEA, APAC and the Americas, UBS covers approximately 85% of the world market capitalization – over 3,300 companies worldwide across 46 different markets. In addition to UBS’s disciplined fundamental research, clients also rely on UBS for corporate and expert access to give them the insight they need, when they need it.