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  • Wal-Martís Christmas Woes Continue

    With last year having one less weekend, for comparison reasons itís better to compare this weekend to the same weekend in 2002. This study has 800 interviews conducted nationally on Sunday December 5, 2004 with an error factor of +/-4.3%.

    1. In 2002 34.5% shopped first at Wal-Mart over the weekend compared to only 20.7% this year.
    2. Shopping levels over the weekend were lower typically 58% to 48% of Americans shop this first weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year only 46.5% took to the busy streets to shop for Christmas gifts.
    3. Electronics are the surprise of Christmas gift giving this year when asking shoppers what were their top three gifts they were giving this 28.1% said electronics compared to 21.9% in 2002.
    4. Shoppers are not splurging on themselves like they have in years past. Only 36.9% have bought something nice for themselves compared to 42.8% in 2002.
    5. There is still a lot of shopping to be done since only 22.3% are finished or nearly finished this year compared to 26.0% who were basically done in 2004.
    6. Of those 30% of Americans who are waiting until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping, 66.2% are waiting for big discounts and big sales so they can stretch their gift giving.
    7. Only 19.5% have not stayed within their planned Christmas budget compared to 17.9% in 2004.
    8. Last year nearly half of America gave gift cards, but 10% of America is still unsure whether they will again this year.
    9. Still one in three, 32.4%, are not impressed with the level of Christmas decorations in retail stores this Christmas.
    10. Only 30.1% of parents have completed their Christmas shopping for their children.

    My earlier forecast of 3.2% still looks good after two lackluster weekends of Christmas gift buying. This lack of any hot products or toys still weighs heavily on shoppers who do not need to spend more this Christmas. The big surprise question of Christmas is Wal-Martís steep decline in shopping levels. They will need to see big shopping levels the last two weekends for them to hit their modest 2% to 4% sales forecast.