November 25, 2008

Black Friday Versus Cyber Monday

Poll reveals customer expectations and
trends by generation this holiday season

Is Cyber Monday gaining steam? According to a recent Maritz(R) Poll, 26 percent of respondents will shop on Cyber Monday, up from 20 percent in the 2007 Maritz Holiday Shopping Poll. The poll also revealed that 41 percent of respondents will shop on Black Friday, slightly higher than the 37 percent that said they were going to shop on the same day in 2007.

Gen Y (53 percent) and Gen X (46 percent) are more likely to shop Black Friday sales compared to Boomers (36 percent) or the Silent Generation (18 percent). Only 10 percent of the Silent Generation will shop on Cyber Monday, significantly lower than any other generational group.

"It's good news for retailers that Gen Y hasn't lost its penchant for Black Friday," said Tom Krause, director of strategic consulting for Maritz Research Retail Group. "This generation is known for their impulse spending and taste for fashion so they are a great target for retailers this holiday season. Plus, according to the survey, they are the only generation saying they will spend the same as last year ($550), rather than cutting back, which could be attributed to the fact that this particular generation has never really experienced a recession."

Capturing spend by generation

Among a list of more than 15 stores to choose from, the consumer research study revealed the top choices among the generations (listed in descending order of popularity):
    Retailer              Gen Y         Gen X        Boomers       Silent
Wal-Mart 61 percent 66 percent 57 percent 64 percent
Target 67 percent 57 percent 47 percent 37 percent
Best Buy 52 percent 39 percent 34 percent 23 percent
Toys R Us 33 percent 38 percent 23 percent 15 percent
K-Mart 25 percent 28 percent 27 percent 27 percent
Kohl's 32 percent 23 percent 27 percent 28 percent
Sears 13 percent 19 percent 29 percent 23 percent
Macy's 24 percent 18 percent 17 percent 20 percent
Circuit City 21 percent 20 percent 18 percent 10 percent
Victoria's Secret 33 percent 17 percent 13 percent 2 percent
Apple Store/iTunes 18 percent 8 percent 6 percent 3 percent

"Gen Y isn't cutting back this holiday season and Gen X shoppers still plan on spending the most this year - an average of $607 - despite the generation's spending decline from previous years. Retailers should keep an eye toward catering to those generations," said Krause. "A notable exception is Sears, who still has not cracked the code with the younger generations. Sears' shopper profile skews older, which makes them more vulnerable to the forecasted drop in spending among Boomers and Silents."

Shoppers stay jolly with creative ways to offset holiday spending

While budgets are tight this year, consumers still want the holidays to be filled with lots of presents and good cheer. From using the economic stimulus check to re-gifting, Americans want to maintain a high level of generosity during the holidays. The Maritz poll explored the top ways consumers are adjusting to the declining economy this holiday season. Results indicated that Gen Y shoppers will apply for seasonal retail jobs to take advantage of discounts more than any other generation. Also, 81 percent of women will do pre-shopping research (compared to 67 percent of men) and 69 percent will focus on giving practical gifts rather than non-essential gifts (compared to 54 percent of men). Women will also focus more on homemade and sentimental gifts (42 percent) compared to their male counterparts (28 percent).

According to Krause, "It's not all doom and gloom this holiday season. Consumers are still spending money and looking for creative ways to supplement their budgets. But it's up to retailers to train employees, and provide convenience and value-added incentives to capture those holiday dollars."

'Tis the season for a better holiday shopping experience

When asked about the single most important improvement retailers could make to create a better holiday shopping experience, respondents indicated that additional check-out and return lines, and friendlier and well-informed employees would improve the overall experience.
                                                            Train associates
Have more sales Maintain a to be more
associates for friendlier knowledgeable
check-outs/ attitude toward about the
returns shoppers products sold
Gen Y 55 percent 22 percent 9 percent
Gen X 64 percent 16 percent 8 percent
Boomer Generation 46 percent 18 percent 18 percent
Silent Generation 33 percent 27 percent 23 percent
Krause adds, "Retailers should focus on the small details to make a big difference - train employees to maintain a friendly attitude, reconfigure the store to create an easy flow around the check-out counters and customer service desks and keep information on merchandise at other stores readily available to combat issues created by low inventory. Those small changes will go a long way."

For reference:

For this poll/release Gen Y (1978 to 1989) comprises ages 18-29; Gen X (1965 to 1977) comprises ages 30-42; Boomers (1946 to 1964) comprises ages 43-61; and the Silent Generation (1900 to 1945) comprises ages 62 and over.

This online Maritz Poll, which was conducted Oct. 14-24, 2008, featured responses from 1,525 randomly selected adults from an Internet panel survey on topics related to holiday shopping, buying behaviors and gift-giving trends. Respondents for this market research poll were split evenly between males and females, and results were weighted to match census demographics (on age, income, race, education and children in household). Margin of error for the overall poll is +/- 3 percent.

About Maritz(R) Poll

Maritz(R) Poll is a copyrighted poll conducted since 1988 by Maritz Research Inc., one of the world's largest market research firms. Maritz Poll comprises regular surveys on topics related to the automotive, financial services, hospitality, retail, pharma, technology and telecommunications sectors as well as workplace issues. Results of the poll may be used in print or broadcast media, provided credit is given to the Maritz Poll and/or Maritz Research. For more information, visit or call 1-877-4 MARITZ.

Source: Market Watch

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