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  • Britt Beemer’s Christmas, 2004 Sales Forecast

    The long-awaited Christmas sales forecast by Britt Beemer of America’s Research Group for Christmas, 2004 will be 3.2% up over last year. This forecast was delayed by 10 days due to the Presidential election due to the 48% of consumers who needed that race to end before thinking about Christmas shopping. Britt Beemer has accurately predicted the last eight of the last nine Christmases within a half of one percent.

    The 12 Big Stories of Christmas

    1. With no “hot” toy, no “big” electronics item or “must have” apparel item, only 37.3% of consumers are planning to buy something for themselves and most of those plan to spend $50 or less.

    2. The average number of people receiving gifts will be 9.87 people and the biggest gift range will be $36-$50 with the average gift being $38.39.

    3. The lack of that “hot” toy is most evident with 43.1% saying their children are not asking for anything this Christmas. The top 5 toys kids are asking for are:
    • Nintendo/Play Station -- 13.0%
    • Barbie -- 9.6%
    • Bicycle -- 9.1%
    • Computer games -- 7.6%
    • Doll babies -- 6.5%
    4. Now, 21.8% say they will spend less due to higher gas prices with most of those spending 10%-15% less and the average for spending less is 13.3% due to higher gas prices.

    5. Shopping over Thanksgiving weekend will be the lowest in a decade with only 30.5% planning to shop on Friday, and even fewer shopping the next two days since only 26.3% plan to shop on either that Saturday or Sunday following Thanksgiving.

    6. The top 5 gifts to be given this Christmas are:
    • Toys -- 29.1%
    • Electronics -- 21.1%
    • Jewelry -- 18.6%
    • Perfume/cologne -- 17.6%
    • Children’s clothes -- 13.1%
    7. The average amount spent by American families will be $884.98 and there is a virtual tie with 20.7% planning to spend $751-$1,000 and 20.5% planning to spend $501-$750.

    8. For those 23.7% who plan to buy on the Internet their top 5 items are:
    • Books -- 19.5%
    • Computer software -- 16.4%
    • DVDs -- 16.1%
    • Toys -- 16.0%
    • Linens -- 15.5%
    9. The majority of Americans, 56.1%, plan to do the most of their shopping from early December to December 20th. Only 2.4% are currently finished and only 13.9% plan to wait to the end to do their shopping in the last 3-4 days.

    10. Sixty-six percent (65.6%) believe retailers will lower their prices before Christmas and 63.3% say they believe 50% off sales are genuine. There is a group, 20.0% who will wait for those 50% off sales and 96.0% of those will radically slash their spending if they don’t see 50% off at their favorite stores.

    11. The popularity of gift cards is still strong with 38.1% planning to give gift cards this Christmas. This compares to 48.6% last year planning to give gift cards at this time.

    12. The top 5 toys parents and grandparents are planning to give their children are:
    • Nintendo/Play Station -- 25.5%
    • Barbie -- 22.5%
    • Bicycle -- 19.1%
    • Action figures -- 18.8%
    • Hand-held games -- 16.5%
    Other Highlights
    1. George Bush’s re-election is a positive to 19.1% who will spend more while only 11.1% will spend less.

    2. Only 21.9% plan to be on vacation either the week before or after Christmas and the week before Christmas will be when most take off for their Christmas break.

    3. It is interesting that 67.6% feel their family is better off this Christmas compared to last year.

    4. Thirty-two percent (32.4%) plan to spend more while 19.8% plan to spend less.

    5. Giving Christmas decorations as gifts continues to be strong for 22.3% due to the lack of a “hot item” this Christmas.

    6. A majority, 53.3% expect stores to be short-handed this Christmas and 52.9% of those will avoid those stores where sales help is inadequate and the lines are too long.

    1,000 calls completed November 3, 2004 to November 5, 2004. Error factor +/- 4.3%