DMA forecasts 2005 holiday spend trends

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 31, 2005

American consumers plan to spend a total of US$299 billion on holiday season gifts (collectively, that is) before the end of 2005, according to research from the US Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which helpfully breaks down the who, what, why, when, and how much of it all.

With the holiday shopping season already underway, Americans are looking to catalogue, the web, and bricks-and-mortar stores to find gifts for friends, family and colleagues. The DMA has compiled the findings of three separate surveys to help marketers better understand channel, category and demographic trends:

Who's in charge of gift-buying?

  • More than two-thirds of Americans (70%) shop from home, buying from catalogues, over the internet, over the phone, or through the mail.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of women shop from the home or office, compared to 66% of men.
  • Nearly all (97%) plan to buy holiday gifts this year.

What's in their budget?

  • American adults plan to spend a total of US$299 billion on holiday gifts in 2005 - an average of US$1,373 per person.
  • Men plan to spend US$1,515 on gifts, while women plan to spend US$1,240.
  • Broken down by category, Americans plan to spend the following amounts on average:
    ·  Apparel (US$211);
    ·  Food (US$195);
    ·  Electronics/computers (US$187);
    ·  General gifts (US$172);
    ·  Toys and games (US$149);
    ·  Home decor or furniture (US$124);
    ·  Books/music/videos (US$101);
    ·  Sporting goods (US$63);
    ·  Tickets for sports/entertainment (US$60);
    ·  Pet supplies (US$47);
    ·  Flowers (US$35);
    ·  Gardening supplies (US$30).
  • Consumers and businesses combined will spend a total of US$133 billion on catalogue purchases in 2005 (up from US$126 billion in 2004). The average catalogue shopper spent US$142 per order in 2004, and purchased an average of four items per order.
  • The web will generate nearly US$284 billion in sales of all products and services in 2005, up from US$243 billion in 2004.

What's on the list?

  • Catalogues: Broken down into categories (by popularity as gifts to be given), consumers buying from catalogues expect to purchase:
    ·  Apparel (65%);
    ·  Gifts (40%);
    ·  Books/music/videos (37%);
    ·  Home decor or furniture (26%);
    ·  Toys and games (24%);
    ·  Electronics (23%);
    ·  Sporting goods (21%);
    ·  Gardening supplies (14%);
    ·  Food (12%);
    ·  Flowers (12%);
    ·  Pet supplies (11%).
  • Internet: Broken down into categories (by popularity as gifts to be given), consumers buying on the internet expect to purchase:
    ·  Books/music/videos (55%);
    ·  Apparel (48%);
    ·  Travel services/airline tickets (47%);
    ·  Gifts (44%);
    ·  Electronics/computers (43%);
    ·  Tickets/sports and entertainment (33%);
    ·  Toys and games (31%);
    ·  Home decor or furniture (21%);
    ·  Sporting goods (19%);
    ·  Flowers (16%);
    ·  Pet supplies (10%);
    ·  Food (7%);
    ·  Gardening supplies (6%).

When is the retail rush?

  • One-fifth of shoppers (20%) plan to buy all of their holiday gifts before Thanksgiving (roughly one month before Christmas).
  • An additional 31% will finish their gift buying two weeks before the holiday. Some 46% percent wait until the final week to complete their shopping, with 23% finishing the day before the holiday.
  • Men are more likely to procrastinate, with 51% finishing their shopping in the final week, compared to only 41% of women.

Where to meet them?
Finally, the shops may be quieter than usual this year. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers (63%) cite "convenience" as the main reason they prefer shop via catalogues, the internet, by mail, or by phone. Other reasons for using these channels (either from home or the office) include:
·  variety (36%);
·  to save money (34%);
·  customer service (20%).

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