Coupon Promotions, Optimistic Consumer Outlook Fueling Purchase Activity
With U.S. shoppers spending less to fill up their gas tanks, they’re spending more filling up holiday stockings – according to a survey conducted by Inmar Analytics earlier this month that found 25 percent of shoppers planning to spend more on gifts this year than last. Another 49 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they plan to spend at least as much this year as they spent in 2013. And that spending is well underway, with 90 percent of the 520 shoppers surveyed on December 1 and 2 reporting they have already made a holiday gift purchase.
While shoppers are expected to spend more, they are actively looking for deals and ways to get the most for what they do spend; 37 percent are waiting for discounts of 50 percent or more before they purchase gifts. And, 20 percent reported they were waiting until the last few days before the holiday to finish their shopping in hopes of getting a better deal.
In addition to hunting for retailer mark-downs, shoppers are actively seeking out coupons — with 60 percent of shoppers planning to look online for coupons for holiday gifts and 61 percent planning to do the same using store circulars and/or newspapers. When shoppers find offers, they’re using them; 38 percent of shoppers participating in the survey said they used at least one coupon during their Thanksgiving weekend shopping.
Among those shoppers who used coupons over the weekend, more than half reported that it directly and significantly influenced their shopping behavior. Because these shoppers had a coupon:41 percent added a gift to their list.27 percent purchased an alternative to an item already on their list.40 percent visited a store they would have not otherwise in order to redeem a coupon.49 percent purchased more gifts than they would have otherwise.
“Our research shows that deploying coupons is a sales-driving strategy for marketers during the holiday shopping season,” says Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts. “With shoppers aggressively looking for deals and expecting help in stretching gift-buying budgets, those retailers and brands that actively engage potential customers by making attractive offers available will receive good tidings when the results are in for the season,” adds Mounts.
While spending is expected to be up for the 2014 holiday shopping season, there is an element of controlled exuberance, of practicality, characterizing the planned spending. Shoppers surveyed indicated – in significant proportion – their collective intent to give consumables and recipient-redeemable gifts. Items high on the gift lists of surveyed shoppers included:Retail store gift cards                                                      56%Restaurant gift cards                                                       43%Wine/craft beer                                                              26%Service gift cards (e.g., salon, spa, etc.)                          23%Grocery store gift cards                                                  21%
As for where holiday shoppers are looking to make their purchases, it would appear that the impending demise of the brick-and-mortar storefront has been over-stated, with 16 percent of those surveyed saying they plan to increase their in-store shopping activity this season as compared to 2013. At the same time, a little more than 53 percent of this year’s survey respondents are planning to shop in-store as much as they did last year. And, among those survey participants who shopped Thursday, Friday or Saturday over the Thanksgiving weekend, 42 percent reported shopping in-store.
Still, online shopping looks to continue its growth as 38 percent of surveyed shoppers indicated they plan to shop more online this year than last, while roughly 48 percent of those asked responded that their online shopping activity will remain the same as it was in 2013. Of the 43 percent of survey participants who shopped on Cyber Monday, 79 percent did so exclusively online.
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Inmar Analytics regularly surveys shoppers regarding their attitudes and activity relative to shopping, saving and lifestyle. In addition to an annual Holiday Shopping Survey, Inmar Analytics executes a broad array of shopper behavior studies. In 2014, Inmar Analytics conducted five different shopper studies involving 3,037 shoppers: Shopper Behavior Study, Shopper Lifestyle Study, Promotion Use and Supply Chain Influence Study, Counterfeit Product Study and Recall Study.

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