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Holiday Shopping Speculations

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November 22, 2004 – Digital camera manufacturers are counting on big spending this holiday season. However, according to a survey by the NPD Group, consumers will be slightly thriftier this year than they were last year. 90 percent of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount or less than last year; 69 percent will spend the same amount and 18 percent will spend less. Only 12 percent of Americans plan to expand their holiday budgets. The average consumer will spend $655 this holiday season.

"Year over year, it appears from our surveys that consumers are slowly but surely losing their passion for holiday shopping," said Marshal Cohen, a chief industry analyst for the NPD Group. Cohen recommended that manufacturers not stick to the same techniques year upon year, but to implement new strategies to catch consumer interests. "Those merchants who will ignite the consumers’ interest will thrive and those who repeat what they’ve done in the past will simply survive."

Manufacturers could target certain groups of consumers to do well this holiday season. The 55-64 age group has the largest holiday budget this year with an average of $693. Young adults ages 18-24 plan to spend the least at $537, but that is well above their average spending limit last year of $366. Men are planning on spending twice as much on electronics this year as compared to women.

"That’s why marketing can make a big difference," Cohen said. "It pays to look for marketing opportunities within particular demographic segments and implement targeted strategies to entice them to buy."

41 percent of consumers plan to shop online. 72 percent plan to shop at discount stores such as Target and Wal-Mart. 33 percent will shop in warehouse clubs, 33 percent will shop at a specialty store and 27 percent in department stores. The NPD Group asked consumers what criteria they looked for when deciding where to shop. Value, convenience of location, and quality of products were the top three responses.

56 percent of holiday shoppers compare prices before they buy, especially with electronics. Consumers are more likely to comparison shop on digital cameras and consumer electronics than clothing and computer software.

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