The Disney/Visa view of the holiday spend trend

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 22, 2005

Two out of three parents in the USA (68%) who do family shopping for the holidays say they plan to spend the same amount of money or more on gifts this holiday season compared to last year, according to a survey commissions by the Disney Rewards Visa Card from Chase.

The Disney Rewards Visa Family Trends Report (a Harris Interactive survey), examined the spending habits and attitudes of families who represent an estimated 40% of consumer credit card spending. James Delaney, senior vice president for Chase Card Services, said: "Despite dips in overall consumer sentiment, our survey indicated that parents are focused on making this holiday season as special as ever for their children". Which is good for retailers everywhere.

The study also highlights some of the trends around family holiday shopping, including the role of online shopping and the different shopping habits of mothers and fathers. Most parents' moods heading into the holidays appear to be positive, with nearly two-thirds report feeling festive (33%), thankful (24%), optimistic (2%) or compassionate (6%) during the season.

Showing feelings
Many display their feelings of holiday cheer by decorating their homes: more than nine out of ten (93%) put up holiday decorations, of whom 34% report having their homes decorated both inside and out. Over half (52%) say they wear holiday-themed clothing or accessories during the holiday period, including 16% of fathers who said they wear holiday ties. Which is good for menswear departments everywhere.

However, the routine of decorating, shopping and wrapping may leave some of the cheery parents feeling a little stressed: Nearly one-quarter (23%) report that the holiday season typically makes them feel stressed. The size of a mother's holiday shopping list may be a key driver of this problem, as mothers are three times more likely than fathers to shop for holiday gifts for more than 20 people (24% of mothers, compared to only 8% of fathers).

Planned budgets
Among those who shop for the holidays, mothers are more likely than fathers to say they are planners and have budgets for holiday shopping. In fact, when asked whether they are planners or procrastinators, 67% of mothers described themselves as planners (compared to only 44% of dads). When asked if they have budgets - or no fixed spending plan at all - most mothers (76%) reported they have holiday budgets (compared to 59% of fathers). By contrast, 56% of fathers describe themselves as procrastinators when it comes to holiday shopping, and 41% said they do not have fixed spending plans.

When it comes to holiday shopping, mothers generally enjoy shopping for holiday gifts more than fathers do (76% against 59%). Online shopping may play a large part in parent's holiday shopping this year as 40% of parents who shop for the holidays are planning to accomplish 25% or more of their holiday shopping via the internet. Which is good for e-tailers everywhere.

Second choices?
There will always be a pre-Christmas rush to find must-have DVDs, games, movies, clothes or the latest gadgets. While 76% percent of parents say their children make lists or request specific gift items, if they can't find that most wanted gift, many say they would go to great lengths to meet their children's requests.

Around half (51%) said they would surf the internet until they located the gift, while most others (48%) said they would go to multiple stores and search for the gift. Almost one-quarter (24%) said they would call friends or family members in different geographic locations to search the stores near them as well, and 15% said they would get up early to be the first customer at a store. Another 14% said they would continuously call the store to see when shipments come in, and 9% said they would wait in line for hours.

But for those who still can't find the must-have gift, 37% said they would forgo it in lieu of something similar, while others think they would buy more gifts (7%) or more expensive gifts (2%) to compensate. Which is good for toy shops everywhere.

Gift cards
Gift cards are becoming a popular holiday gift. But do parents think they are an appropriate gift for kids? The report found that 87% of parents who shop for the holidays feel that it is appropriate to give a child a gift card. In total, 68% of parents said they plan to purchase store-branded gift cards, while only 22% plan to purchase a general purpose pre-paid gift card that can be used at any store.

Gift cards may also be a good choice for those who are fussiest about their gifts and those who are hard to shop for. Fathers are more likely than mothers to have a hard time choosing gifts for their spouses or significant others (55% of fathers compared to 40% of mothers). But mothers are more likely than fathers to say their in-laws are the hardest to shop for (29% against 12%).

The holidays play on many parents' sentiments, as 77% said they would rather receive a hand-made gift from their children versus a store-bought gift (23%). Only 3% of parents who receive holiday gifts reported that their children give them the worst holiday gifts. Which, at least, is good for family harmony...

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