Despite a less than perfect economy, the USA's consumers have indicated that they intend to spend the same or more on the 2004 holiday season than they did in 2003, according to the latest Customer Loyalty Index survey from customer loyalty research consultancy Brand Keys.
An ongoing psychographic trend that Brand Keys has observed is that, while consumers are willing to spend a bit more, they still want to be perceived as "wise shoppers". According to Brand Keys' president, Robert Passikoff, consumers are willing to spend money but they want it to be well spent, and will spend time searching for the best deals - most of which will be done online this year.
When asked if they thought they would spend more, less, or the same this holiday season as last year, 8% said "more" (down 2% from 2003) while 67% said "the same" (up 5% from 2003) and 25% said "less" (down 3% from 2003).
In terms of total spend, on average, consumers expect to spend some US$760.00, which is 7% more than in 2003 but is also lower than the 9% increase seen in 2003 over 2002. The overall spend for 2004 is expected to total US$26.5 billion (up 30% on 2003's total of US$20.41 billion).
As might be expected, consumers have indicated that they will use the full range of retail formats and channels for their holiday expenditure. However, only one of these channels reflects a substantial percent-change over last year: More shoppers say they'll go online to shop this holiday season, pushing the online channel into the mainstream this year.