NEW YORK, Dec. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Planet Earth and global
manufacturing issues increasingly figure into consumers' spending
decisions, with a vast majority of holiday shoppers expressing a
willingness to pay more for eco-friendly gifts and taking note of the
country where items were made, says the 2007 Annual National Shopping
Behavior Survey by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP.
In addition, money was tighter this year. While an average of 36
percent of shoppers previously reported spending more each year during
similar surveys from 2003 to 2006, just 30 percent of respondents in 2007
said they spent more than the preceding holiday season on gifts.
"When consumers had the opportunity, they purchased gifts to fit their
social conscience," said John Rittenhouse, a KPMG retail partner and
national leader for Operations Risk Management. "The 'green-quotient' and a
product's country of origin have become important reputational concerns for
shoppers, due mainly to recent publicity on the environment and
manufacturing issues in emerging markets."
Some 88 percent of the survey respondents, Rittenhouse said, were very
concerned about the environment, 74 percent indicated they buy
environmentally friendly products, 60 percent were willing to pay more for
such items, and 55 percent say they make a special effort to patronize
retailers with a "green" reputation.
In addition, 40 percent of consumers said they checked the country of
origin on potential gifts, with 31 percent using such information to decide
against a purchase. While 79 percent of those decisions not to buy an item
involved products from China, toys were involved more than half (52
percent) of the time.
Meanwhile, Mark Larson, KPMG's global leader for the retail sector,
said the survey also showed that well-stocked retailers with a
customer-friendly return policy continued to attract business, noting that
76 percent of shoppers said their spending decisions were influenced most
when a store had the item they expected, while 58 percent cited a store's
return policy as influential. By contrast, 47 percent said newspaper ads
affected where they shopped, and 43 percent said a coupon figured into the
decision, the survey said.
"Even though price remains the most significant driver to attract
customers initially, busy shoppers told us they went to the retailer where
experience told them they could get what they wanted," said Larson,
underscoring reputational factors as important for boosting traffic and
sales. "Shoppers will first visit stores that they know are usually
well-stocked year-in and year-out. That confidence in filling a need comes
from years of building customer relationships. But miss that expectation --
even just once - - and it easily sours an often fragile customer loyalty."
Some 28 percent of respondents who shopped in stores said they spent
the most at mass retailers, (Wal-Mart, Target and other similar stores),
while 14 percent said they spent more at power retailers (Toys R Us and
Best Buy, etc.), 12 percent said specialty stores (such as Gap and Radio
Shack), 10 percent said midline stores (such as Kohls, JC Penney and
Sears), and 8 percent said department stores (such as Macy's and
And the KPMG survey said the internet and power retailers grabbed more
of "wallet share" -- 4 points and 7 points, respectively. Wallet share
denotes whether consumers are spending a larger or smaller portion of their
holiday shopping budgets, where they are making purchases, and why. Other
retail channels and the changes in their wallet share include: specialty
stores, catalogs (such as Gap, Disney) and warehouse retailers (such as
Costco, BJ's) gained 1 point each, while mass merchants dropped 2 points,
and department stores and off-price (TJX, Old Navy and other similar
stores) retailers each lost 1 point of wallet share.
In addition, retailers' well-documented rush to jump start the holiday
season by advertising heavily and lowering prices -- even before
Thanksgiving -- had little influence over when consumers began their
shopping, the survey said. Rittenhouse said: "The KPMG survey respondents
said they shopped basically at the same time they do every year, and sales
or early promotions did little to change their patterns."
The survey, designed and managed by The Gordman Group, was conducted
randomly by telephone with 815 shoppers. The margin of error is plus or
minus 3.5 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.us.kpmg.com), is the
U.S. member firm of KPMG International. KPMG International's member firms
have 123,000 professionals, including more than 6,800 partners, in 145
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SOURCE KPMG LLP