Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas closing in

Happy Holidays to all our Discover Mid-America advertisers, readers and vendors. Only four more days left to shop!

So far the holiday shopping has been pretty much what was predicted — conservative to moderate, depending upon what part of the country you're in. Within our network, we've heard the usual "it's slow" comments, but I have to admit not as numerous as in years past.

The National Retail Federation made some predictions before Thanksgiving and it will be interesting to see if they hold true. Here are a few as they relate to our shopping network of antiques, collectibles and home decor shops. 68.4% of the shoppers were predicted to do most of their shopping at discounters, down from 70.3% in 2006; online shopping was expected to be 44.3% of shoppers, down from 47.1% in 2006.

I question this prediction/statistic and think it will be higher than last year. Watch for the figures in early January 2008.

Home decor items were 22% of the "most sought after" gifts according to the survey. Spending on flowers and decorations was to rise. And for our advertisers, here are the "Major Factors" driving consumer traffic this holiday season:

Everyday low prices (12.8%)
Sales or price discounts (38.2%)
Customer service (4.9%)
Product quality (12.8%)
Merchandise selection (22.6%)
Convenient location (6.3%)

Every one of those categories are relevant to antique shops and malls, and home decor advertisers, especially relating to sales or price discounts and merchandise selection. It's time to stop relegating the holiday season to other types of retail outlets.