'Clicks' versus 'Bricks' - The Holiday Shopping Divide: Survey Shows Americans Divided on Whether Best Deals Are Found Online or in Stores

Dec 08, 2010, 09:05 ET from StrategyOne from ,Edelman

- 7 in 10 holiday shoppers are waiting for deeper discounts before they buy gifts -

- 6 in 10 want more and better deals -

NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With less than three weeks left in the official holiday shopping season, the third wave of StrategyOne's Annual Holiday Shopping Index – examining the "Bricks vs. Clicks" divide –  finds that 74% of Americans feel that the easiest way to complete their gift purchases is online, while 87% feel that brick-and-mortar stores do a better job of putting them in the holiday spirit.

However, when it comes to finding the best deals overall, Americans are divided — with 52% stating they found the best deals online, while 48% say they could find the best deals in retail stores.

From its recent public opinion poll of 1,052 Americans, StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman strategic research and polling firm, also found that 54% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to ensure their spending doesn't exceed their holiday gift budget.

"Online retailing has quickly and increasingly become a crucial segment of the holiday shopping season, which can be seen in the growing popularity of 'Cyber Monday' as well as the significant Thanksgiving Day online spending," said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne.  "But clearly, there are still aspects of the retail experience, like the holiday spirit, that can't be matched online."

Overall, 59% of consumers said they preferred to do their holiday shopping in stores. However, that perspective varies among different income groups – with 51% of consumers who earn $75,000 or more a year preferring to gift shop in stores, compared to 63% of consumers earning between $25,000 and $40,000 a year.

The StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index seeks to better quantify consumer attitudes and perceptions surrounding this year's holiday shopping habits and how consumers' specific shopping plans will evolve over the course of the season.

The Index declined last week to 76.5 from 83.8 the week before, indicating that three in four holiday shoppers still have presents to buy and have not made firm decisions about what they will purchase.  

The StrategyOne survey also found that U.S. consumers are disappointed this season by the lack of bargains in stores and surprised by higher-than-expected retail prices.  Sixty-eight percent said there were not nearly enough low prices, and 45% experienced sticker shock with prices that were generally higher than they expected.

"With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, a substantial number of consumers have begun to make their holiday purchases," said Honan. "However, the market remains largely open for retailers and marketers to reach their target audiences across all channels of the retail marketplace, and value clearly remains a top priority for consumers this holiday season."

Additional Survey Highlights

  • Sixty-nine percent are waiting to find more deals and lower prices before they spend more on gifts.
  • Sixty-five percent said they were in no hurry to buy their gifts and would wait for better deals, sales and promotions before they do their shopping.
  • Sixty percent said they haven't seen nearly enough deals so far this season.
  • Fifty-five percent of holiday shoppers said they had done some of their holiday shopping, but held off buying certain gifts because prices weren't low enough yet. At the same time, 54% saw lots of items representing good value as they conducted their holiday shopping.
  • Concerns about value have even led some consumers to look for alternatives to gift-buying, with 51% stating they will find other ways to celebrate the holidays this year without purchasing a lot of presents.

According to the survey, 84% of consumers still have more gifts to purchase, and 75% are undecided about exactly what gifts they intend to buy this year.

The StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index

 Survey Dates:

Index Number 

November 15-17, 2010

83.8

November 22-23, 2010

83.8

November 29-December 1, 2010

76.5



Survey Methodology:

StrategyOne conducted 1,072 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between November 29 and December 1, 2010. The margin of sampling error at the 95% level of confidence is = +/- 3.14% overall and larger for subgroups. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics. 

About the StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index:

The Annual StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index is a weekly public opinion survey of U.S. consumers, which occurs between the middle of November and the end of December 2010. For more information about the Shopping Index, please visit the StrategyOne website: http://www.strategyone.net/HolidayIndex.html

Full Question Texts & Survey Data:

Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The best way to get into the holiday spirit?                                  

Answer

Percentage

Online

13%

At stores and retail outlets

87%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The easiest way to do your holiday shopping?                                  

Answer

Percentage

Online

74%

At stores and retail outlets

26%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: Where the best holiday deals are found?                                  

Answer

Percentage

Online

52%

At stores and retail outlets

48%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way to ensure you only spend what's in your holiday budget?                                  

Answer

Percentage

Online

54%

At stores and retail outlets

46%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way you prefer to do your holiday shopping? Among all consumers:                                  

Answer

Percentage

Online

41%

At stores and retail outlets

59%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way you prefer to do your holiday shopping? Among consumers earning over $75,000 a year:                                

Answer

Percentage

Online

49%

At stores and retail outlets

51%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way you prefer to do your holiday shopping?  Among consumers earning $25,000 to $40,000 a year:                                

Answer

Percentage

Online

37%

At stores and retail outlets

63%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way you prefer to do your holiday shopping?  Among women:                                

Answer

Percentage

Online

38%

At stores and retail outlets

62%



Question text: Which shopping source applies the most: The way you prefer to do your holiday shopping?  Among men:                                

Answer

Percentage

Online

44%

At stores and retail outlets

56%



About StrategyOne:

StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company, employs custom public opinion research and secondary research methodologies to deliver strategic counsel to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally.  With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, Washington, D.C., and Abu Dhabi, StrategyOne provides global clients with evidence based stakeholder insights, analysis and measurement. Visit www.strategyone.net for more information.

About Edelman:

Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations firm, with wholly-owned offices in 53 cities and 3,600 employees worldwide.  Edelman was named Advertising Age's top-ranked PR firm of the decade and one of its 2010 Best Places to Work; Adweek's "2009 Agency of the Year"; PRWeek's "2009 Agency of the Year" and "UK Consultancy of the Year"; and Holmes Report's "Agency of the Decade," "2009 Best Large Agency to Work For" and "2009 Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year." Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), RUTH (integrated marketing), DJE Science (medical and science communications), and MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment).  Visit www.edelman.com for more information.

SOURCE StrategyOne; Edelman



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