More than half (56.7%) of American consumers said they had spent less during the 2008 holiday season due to the worsening economic environment, according to the latest Pulse Survey from BIGresearch, which also found that more people still prefer receiving personal gifts rather than gift cards.
The survey noted that, in the run-up to the holiday shopping season, 51.2% of consumers said they were looking for store sales more than they did in 2007, and 31.8% were hoping to find good deals online.
Only 22.8% of American consumers said they planned to brave the crowds on Black Friday to take advantage of big discounts, but 47.4% were reluctant to take up certain retailers' offer to 'layaway' their purchases, with only 9.4% saying they were very likely to do so.
When it came to retailers and their advertising, 87.9% of consumers felt it was proper for retailers to use the word "Christmas" in their ads, while 65.3% said they prefer store employees greet them with "Merry Christmas", while only 27.4% thought that "Happy holidays" is a more appropriate greeting.
Looking specifically at 2008's holiday gift and gift card findings:
- 39.5% would rather receive a gift, while 32.7% prefer a gift card;
- 60.7% feel that gift cards are a wise gift alternative for people they don't know well.
- 36.4% hate to return gifts because "it's a hassle";
- 15.8% had re-gifted some of the gifts they received, while 13.8% said the same about gift cards they had received.
- 12.3% had received gift cards that remained unredeemed, and 13.3% reported having received gift cards that were only partially redeemed.
The top-line findings of the research have been made available for free via the BIGresearch web site - click here (free registration required).