Shop until you drop

Staff Writer
The Steuben Courier Advocate
flickr photo by mikogo

Technology shopping

It’s been a long time since your phone could only make phone calls. But this holiday season, retailers are expecting many people to make gift purchases via their smartphones. Last year, 26 percent of people used their phone to make purchases, with 33 percent using their phones to receive texts with special offers, and 35 percent checking reviews on their phones before shopping, according to a 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

Gift receipts

Sixty-one percent of shoppers provide a gift receipt most or some of the time when giving a gift, up from 59 percent the previous year and up from 57 percent in 2006, says a survey by the National Retail Federation. But 66 percent of holiday shoppers say they don’t need the receipts because they don’t return any presents.

Foot traffic

Shoppers are expected to slow down with their purchases this holiday season, according to ShopperTrak. The decline is due to high unemployment rates and gas prices, which are expected to be 33 percent higher this season than during last year’s holiday season. So far this year, shoppers have stepped into an average of 3.10 stores per shopping trip, slightly down from 3.19 percent in 2010 and lower than the 4.5 shops in 2008, the survey finds.

$30 billion

That’s the value of the retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2009 – the latest data recorded. That number was the highest total for any month that entire year, which is good for the electronic shopping and mail-order houses, who employ about 332,000 workers for their 22,000 stores.

The month of December

Retail sales in the nation’s department stores in December 2009 — the latest data released — jumped 45 percent from November 2009. In addition, bookstore sales from November to December jumped 98 percent, clothing stores’ sales were up by 36 percent, and jewelry stores’ sales were up 135 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Holiday bargains

Holiday sales start earlier each year, but shoppers still have a hard time finishing their shopping ahead of time – even when seduced by the sales. Last year, the average person had completed half of his or her holiday shopping by the second week in December – but that was up from 47 percent in 2009, according to a National Retail Federation survey.