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  • Shoppers Suddenly Realized Only One Weekend Left Until Christmas

    Store shopping levels exploded this weekend with over half of America, 54.9%, hitting the stores. Shopping levels Friday were not good, with Saturday flat to up slightly, but Sunday shoppers left Church and spent, and spent, and spent big dollars Sunday. So far this shopping season, this Sunday has been the biggest day for shopping increases over the last two years. These increased Sunday shopping levels resulted in 54.9% shopping this weekend compared to 43.3% last year and above the normal shopping level of 46% to 52% two weekends out before Christmas.
    1. Wal-Mart led the charge with 52.1% shopping there this year compared to 53.4% last year; but keep in mind that 53.4% were from a 43.3% base while this years 52.1% is from a 54.9% base of American households.
    2. Target was the subsequent loser with only 12.1% shopping there this weekend compared to 30.3% last year for this same weekend.
    3. JCPenney continues to win with big early bird specials getting 17.3% shopping there this year and only 15.3% last year. Sears cools slightly with only 21.0% shopping there this year compared to 24.6% last year.
    4. Electronics continue to lead all categories in growth percent ages with 21.6% buying electronics compared to 20.5% last year. Toys slowed with only 36.2% buy this category this year compared to 41.5% last year.
    5. Gift cards also picked up this weekend with 36.0% buying gift cards to this point compared to 32.8% last year. However, only 11.5% plan to buy gift cards the rest of the season compared to 13.8% last year.
    6. Consumers found something for themselves this weekend with 39.7% having bought something special compared to 36.4% last year at this time.
    7. With shopping levels higher this weekend, 43.8% of households have completed or virtually completed all their Christmas shopping compared to 40.6% last year.
    8. On-line shopping has also exploded this Christmas with 31.8% going to the Internet for their Christmas giving with last year on-line shopping hitting at a 23% level.
    Consumers found their shopping gene this weekend. With 95.1% realizing they have only one weekend left, shoppers made Christmas gift giving a bigger priority.

    As stated earlier in November, America’s Research Group expected Christmas sales to be up 3.2% over a year ago. We stand by that Christmas sales estimate.

    America’s Research Group interviewed 800 shoppers on Sunday evening, December 12, 2004. This study has an error factor of +/- 4.3%.