Christmas 2005 Is The Ghost Of Christmas 2004
Charleston, SC December 5, 2005. Consumers this first weekend in December acted much the same as they did in the first weekend in December 2004. A year ago 46.5% shopped this first weekend in December compared to 48.3% who shopped this year. This year 32.1% expect to finish their Christmas shopping by December 24th compared to 29.8% a year ago. When asked will you be waiting until December 24th to get more gifts on sale, 66.2% said yes this year and 66.2% said yes a year ago. This year 64.1% expect to stay within their Christmas budget compared to 61.0% a year ago. Of those stores they have shopped so far 45.6% expect to shop those same stores again compared to 43.1% last year.
There are some differences from a year ago. A year ago this time 34.4% had already purchased gift cards compared to only 24.8% this year. (This follows our original Christmas research where fewer people expect to buy gift cards this year compared to 2004.) Toys are taking a beating this Christmas, with only 32.1% buying toys so far compared to 40.7% last year.
Consumers are not buying something nice for themselves so far with only 31.3% spending $50 or more on a purchase for themselves compared to 36.9% last year. This is down dramatically from 2002 when 42.8% had spent $50 or more on themselves by the first weekend in December.
Some consumers complain that stores are not as well decorated as in years past. This feeling has jumped from 11.6% a year ago to 23.8% this year.
And finally, Wal-Mart is building its first of class position from a weakened position a year ago when they did not do well over Thanksgiving weekend. This weekend 25.3% said Wal-Mart was where they spent the most money, up from 20.7% a year ago.
The impact of high gas prices remains a small distraction with only 11.6% feeling their Christmas shopping will be impacted by high gas prices. Only 14.1% have concerns that their home heating oil bills could impact their Christmas spending plans.
Christmas 2005 looks a lot like Christmas 2004. Britt Beemer earlier predicted a 3% sales increase this year and that remains his position for Christmas sales.
This survey was conducted on the weekend of December 2 to December 4, 2005, and is a sample of 800 adult consumers. This study has an error factor of +/-4.3%.
America's Research Group is the consumer research-focused business development 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 25 years.