Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Small Businesses Up the Ante this Holiday Season: Offer Discounts and Invest in Advertising to Get More Out of Small Business Saturday, According to NFIB/American Express Research

Number of business owners who say they’ll rely primarily on paid advertising to promote Small Business Saturday doubles; 67% will offer discounts to drive consumers to ‘Shop Small’ on November 30

Washington, D.C. – November 6, 2013 – With five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small business owners say they’ll be pulling out all of the stops to get customers into stores during the critical holiday shopping season. According to the second annual Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, more independent merchants will feel the Christmas creep as they start their promotional activity earlier than last year.

For many of the small business owners who are aware of Small Business Saturday, the day will be a part of their promotional calendar. Of those small business owners incorporating Small Business Saturday into their holiday plans, 70% say Small Business Saturday will be helpful in attracting new customers.

Small Business Saturday has become an important fixture on the business calendar for merchants and an increasing number are investing more money and providing additional incentives to reach customers.  Even as social media and word of mouth remain the top methods for business owners to reach customers with their Small Business Saturday offerings, the number of business owners who say they’ll rely primarily on paid advertising (TV, radio and newspaper) to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled (18% vs. 9% in 2012).  Discounts continue to be the top incentive used to encourage consumers to Shop Small, but more business owners are planning to reward customers by offering them a free gift with  purchase (33%, up from 20% in 2012).

The busy holiday season often demands a more robust workforce; a large number of business owners are looking to their local communities to hire the help they need to meet consumer demand this holiday season. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of local small business owners aware of Small Business Saturday said they make it a point to hire employees from their neighborhood.

Small Business Saturday, now in its fourth year, falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional kick off to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The day was created in response to small business owners’ most pressing need, more customers, and has since grown into an annual celebration of the independent businesses that help boost our local economies.

“Small-business owners are always looking for new ways to creatively promote their products and services—especially in a tough economy,” said NFIB president and CEO Dan Danner. “Small Business Saturday is a reminder of how important the small-business sector is to our economy and why it’s so important to Shop Small all year around.”

Findings from the survey also uncover the lengths to which small businesses are ready to go to promote their activities on Small Business Saturday. Among those that plan to incorporate Small Business Saturday into their holiday promotions:

•    75% say the day would be more effective if communities participated together by hosting events;
•    39% are planning to collaborate with other small businesses in a community event to promote Small Business Saturday; and
•    33% rely on social media most to promote Small Business Saturday to their customers.

The Small Business Saturday Insights Survey was created to provide a window into holiday planning for small business owners. Other key survey findings relating to Small Business Saturday activities include:

•    67% will offer discounts on specific items or general discounts on the day;
•    36% will offer coupons for future offers or discounts;
•    32% are starting their holiday promotions earlier than last year; and
•    21% are planning to increase the number of employees working on Small Business Saturday.

Communities Come Together To Take Small Business Saturday to the Next Level
American Express has created a Neighborhood Champions program, working with business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the Latino Coalition and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to organize Small Business Saturday events in communities throughout the country. To date over 1,000 Neighborhood Champions have signed up to rally businesses in their municipalities to partake in local activities leading up to and on the day.

“In 2012, small businesses took ownership of the day by offering great deals and amazing experiences for their customers,” said Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN. “This year, with more than 1,000 ‘Neighborhood Champions’ rallying communities, the country will be blanketed with Small Business Saturday events that can undoubtedly help keep the registers ringing.”

Tools for Making the Day Their Own
For the past three years, small business owners have embraced the day and developed creative and effective ways to promote their businesses.  American Express is again helping to amplify those efforts with free digital and in-store marketing tools to help small business owners expand their local footprint on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.

The Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit provides businesses with turnkey, personalized assets and materials to better promote their efforts.  These tools are available at ShopSmall.com and include:

•    Printable signage and decals to print and display in a business
•    Logos and imagery for business websites, custom materials, and social media pages
•    Suggested social media and email templates to get the word out to customers on the Web

American Express has also rallied organizations from across the country to lend a hand in providing resources to mobilize businesses and consumers for the day. Premier partners include:

FedEx Office
A longstanding supporter of Small Business Saturday, this year, FedEx Office is offering two copies of the free 11” x 17” printed poster that small business owners can create as part of their customized marketing campaign on ShopSmall.com.  In addition, FedEx Office will offer a special discount to small businesses that take advantage of the free printing offer. FedEx will also promote Small Business Saturday to small businesses and consumers through their marketing channels. Offer terms apply and are available http://local.fedex.com/?promo=sbs2013.

Foursquare
New this year, Foursquare and American Express are offering small businesses $250,000 in free credits to use on the recently launched Foursquare Ads for Small Business platform. The credits will enable businesses to create local campaigns that can help drive new customers into their stores based on where they are, or what they are searching for. Additionally, Foursquare will highlight millions of small businesses in their app to help drive foot traffic to local merchants on Small Business Saturday. Offer terms apply and are available at http://business.foursquare.com/shopsmall.

Twitter
Twitter is offering one million dollars in free advertising to small business owners who have not advertised with Twitter previously, to help drive customer engagement and increase sales on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.  Business owners can also get ready for the big day with an educational toolkit containing helpful tips on gaining more followers and launching exclusive promotions. Offer terms apply and are available at https://business.twitter.com/shop-malsl.

United States Postal Service (USPS)
As a Premier Partner of Small Business Saturday, USPS is providing shipping of Shop Small branded merchandise orders placed on ShopSmall.com as well as Neighborhood Champion Activation Kits.  In a move to help drum up support and activity on Small Business Saturday, USPS will also distribute a consumer mailer and place signage at approximately 1,500 Post Offices to emphasize the importance of supporting their neighborhood business and to help motivate consumers to go out and Shop Small on the day.

Consumer Incentives to Shop Small
Again this year, American Express will give Card Members a special offer for shopping on Small Business Saturday. Card Members who register an eligible American Express® Card will get a one-time $10 statement credit when they use their registered Card to spend $10 or more on November 30, 2013, in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Enrollment is limited and opens on November 24th at ShopSmall.com. Offer terms apply and are available at ShopSmall.com/offerterms.

About the Survey
The Small Business Saturday Insights survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 500 owners/managers of retail establishments with physical storefronts, kiosks, and restaurants/bars/pubs that are not part of a franchise.  In order to qualify, all establishments had to have fewer than 100 employees.  No quotas were established for this criterion, in order to allow for a natural representation of retailers.  The average number of employees of all establishments in the survey was 6 (with the vast majority falling in the 0-5 range).  The study was conducted anonymously via telephone by Redshift Research from October 4 to October 16, 2013.

About Small Business Saturday

November 30th marks the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers.

About NFIB
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 states. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom or NFIB.com/shopsmall.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/companies/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

SOURCE:

NFIB

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey: More Consumers Shopping Mobile and Local

Smartphone ownership rises to 61 percent of consumers; Two-thirds of Americans plan to shop small businesses or independent retailers

NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 2013, Increasing smartphone ownership is taking more consumers down the digital shopping route, while many shoppers plan to frequent local small businesses when visiting stores this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s 28th annual survey of holiday spending intentions and trends.

Overall, smartphone ownership has risen to 61 percent of respondents from 42 percent just two years ago.  Women, younger generations and households earning less than $100,000 annually showed the most significant leaps in smartphone ownership, expanding the base of shoppers that retailers can access via mobile devices. For example, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of women surveyed own smartphones, up from 46 percent last year, and 79 percent of consumers ages 18-24 own a smartphone.

Among smartphone owners, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) plan to use their devices for holiday shopping.  These consumers will primarily use smartphones to search for store locations (56 percent), check and compare prices (54 percent) and obtain product information (47 percent).

Consumers that use smartphones to assist in holiday shopping will likely help retailers’ registers jingle this year, as these shoppers plan to spend 27 percent more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners.

The survey also found a significant number of consumers expecting to shop using their tablets.  Among the 38 percent of respondents that own tablets, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of these owners indicate they plan to use it for holiday shopping this year, with “shop or browse online” ranking as the No. 1 activity.

“Tablets are a two-way street for retailers,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and retail & distribution sector leader.  “They have opened up an entirely new consumer touchpoint, where shoppers can view multiple retailers’ products regardless of their location – from their couch to the point of purchase.  Retailers can also put tablets to work in their stores, providing both their sales team and customers with a broader lens into merchandise selection.  Now that the majority of consumers also own smartphones, these two devices have altered the way they interact with a brand, while also yielding a higher spend per customer.”

Shoppers stay close to home

This year, two-thirds (66 percent) of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops which are not part of national chains.

The survey indicates that one-third (34 percent) of consumers’ budgets will be spent at local stores. Among the reasons for shopping locally, consumers cite desire to support the local economy (60 percent), to find one-of-a-kind gifts (53 percent) and because it is more convenient (44 percent). Nearly one-third (30 percent) report having greater loyalty for the local store over national chains.

Stores still make consumers’ spirits bright

While the Internet ranks as the top shopping destination for the 2013 holiday season, 37 percent of respondents still prefer shopping in a physical store rather than online for holiday products. Service levels continue to influence respondents’ willingness to give a retailer their business.

More than half (54 percent) of shoppers say that knowledgeable store associates will lead them to making an in-store purchase, and 32 percent of shoppers feel store associates can provide customers a better shopping experience when equipped with the latest mobile technologies.  Yet, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) shoppers feel they are better connected to consumer information, including coupons, competitive pricing and product availability, than store associates.

“In the store, retail associates can be engaged to drive loyalty rather than just complete a transaction,” continued Paul. “The most successful retailers are empowering their associates to become devoted brand advocates who are knowledgeable, connected online, have the authority to price match and are aware of products available through other channels.”

Retailers also benefit from providing shoppers with self-help technology in the store. Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of shoppers will use self-help technologies – the most common being price checkers (60 percent) and self-checkout payment lanes (57 percent).

About the Survey
The Holiday Survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research organization between September 13 and 23, 2013. The survey polled a national sample of 5,018 consumers and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus one percentage point.

About Deloitte’s Retail & Distribution Practice
Deloitte is a leading presence in the retail and distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to nearly 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers.  With more than 1,400 professionals, Deloitte’s retail & distribution practice provides insights, services and solutions assisting retailers across major subsectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte’s retail & distribution sector, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/retail-distribution.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

SOURCE:

Deloitte
http://www.deloitte.com/us

 

Read Full Post »

Deloitte: Shoppers’ Belts Remain Tight Despite Economic Improvement

National brand loyalty slides third consecutive year; consumers want household and grocery clicks before trips

NEW YORK, April 16, 2013, Even as the economy improves, 94 percent of Americans indicate they will remain cautious and keep their spending for food, beverage and household goods at its current level, according to Deloitte’s 2013 American Pantry Study.

More than nine in 10 (92 percent) consumers surveyed indicate they have become more resourceful, and 86 percent say they are getting more precise in what they buy — attitudes that have remained consistent in the three years Deloitte has conducted the study, and across income levels.

Despite enduring frugal attitudes, few consumers feel they are making any compromise: More than seven in 10 (72 percent) consumers indicate that, even though they are spending less on household and grocery items, it doesn’t feel like they are sacrificing much, a seven percentage point increase in two years.

Nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) survey respondents report they have found several store brands that they feel are just as good as national brands, and few consumers plan to switch back to national brands: Only 27 percent plan to do so as the economy rebounds, an eight percentage point decline from the previous year.

“One of the most notable year-over-year trends in the study is how embedded frugality has become due to the recession,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and consumer products sector leader. “Prudent consumers and improving perceptions about store brands are squeezing national brands’ position. The gap between the few ‘must have’ brands on shoppers’ lists and others on the shelf may be widening, making it more important for brands to differentiate through innovation, quality and performance. Consumer product companies may also consolidate low and mid-level performers and shift investment to the category leaders.”

Brand loyalty declines, shoppers put experimentation on hold

As store brands become more entrenched in the pantry, brand loyalty continues to slide, however consumers appear to be selectively loyal to certain brands.

Brand loyalty dropped for the third consecutive year in the survey. When asked why certain brands are no longer a priority for their households, consumers cited “other brands are available on sale” as the No. 1 reason. However, brands to which consumers are most loyal significantly outpace their lower performing counterparts by 20 or more percentage points on attributes such as performance, experience and trust.

Consumers have also honed in on select brands they will consider. More than eight in 10 (84 percent) consumers say they have a specific set of brands in mind, and will purchase whichever one is on sale. When using coupons, 71 percent indicate they will use them only for items they would have purchased anyway.

Shoppers are also selective about the retail channels where they are willing to purchase certain items. Consumers surveyed shop an average of 2.5 channels in each product category, compared with an average of 5.5 channels (including grocery, mass merchandise, club, drug, convenience, dollar, neighborhood market and online) for all of their food, beverage and personal goods combined.

Loyalty cards’ importance in consumers’ cross-channel shopping has increased, as the number of consumers with three or more grocery loyalty cards has grown from 28 percent in first American Pantry Study in 2010 to 39 percent in the most recent survey.

Additionally, 58 percent of shoppers surveyed use shopper loyalty cards in grocery stores every time they shop, up 14 percentage points in two years, and 30 percent participate in a loyalty program via their smartphone while shopping in a store. Consumers appear to feel a sense of reward from these efforts: Eight in 10 (80 percent) say it is fun to see how much money they can save by using coupons or a shopper loyalty card.

Online options in demand for household goods, grocery; Mobile shopping interest growing fastest among baby boomers

The 2013 American Pantry Study reveals an unmet demand for online shopping options, particularly for in-store pickup and at-home delivery. While 14 percent of shoppers surveyed currently buy consumer products online and pick them up in the store, 43 percent indicate they would like to do so, with strongest demand appearing in food and beverage categories for in-store pickup.

Approximately one in 10 (11 percent) survey respondents purchase online with home delivery, and the number rises to 34 percent among those who would like to do so, primarily for household goods such as laundry soaps and tabletop disposable paper products.

“Consumers are drawn to the convenience of purchasing frequently-used food, beverage and household items online, and brand preferences will likely extend into their online buying habits,” added Conroy. “Consumer product companies can use mobile and online channels to strengthen the functional and experiential brand attributes that translate into conversion and loyalty. They should consider aligning their digital efforts with consumers’ location and context to reach shoppers online and on their phones, blending into their list-making, meal planning, product and price-checking, family activities and health and beauty routines. They may also market channel-specific product offerings and use these platforms to make product suggestions based on target consumers’ prior shopping behaviors.”

The latest American Pantry Study also indicates that interest in mobile technology is growing at a higher rate among baby boomers than younger consumers. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents age 45 to 70 indicate they are interested in using mobile coupons they can scan at the checkout, up from 12 percent in last year’s survey, compared with a six percentage point increase among respondents age 21 to 29.

Shoppers surveyed are tapping into their smartphones outside the store nearly as often as they do inside the store. Three in 10 (30 percent) consumers manage a shopping list or recipe while in a store, just three percentage points higher than those who do so offsite during the shopping process.

For more information about the 2013 American Pantry Study, including in-depth survey findings, please visit: http://www.deloitte.com/us/pr/2013APS

About the Survey

The 2013 American Pantry Study was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company in January 2013. The survey polled a sample of 4,047 consumers and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

About Deloitte’s Consumer Products Practice

Deloitte is a leading presence in the consumer products industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 consumer product companies. Delivering insights on the latest consumer product issues, effective practices, technology and operating procedures, Deloitte serves companies across multiple categories including food and beverage, apparel and footwear, personal care, and household products. For more information about Deloitte’s consumer products practice, visit: http://www.deloitte.com/us/consumerproducts

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

SOURCE:

Deloitte
http://www.deloitte.com/us

 

Read Full Post »

Goodwill® Sponsors Thrift Store Project: Documenting America’s Consumption Patterns

All Thrifty States Documents Positive Aspects of Secondhand Shopping

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 10, 2013, Goodwill Industries® is proud to serve as an educational partner and sponsor of All Thrifty States: A Visual Journey through America’s Collective Closets, a documentary photo project and upcoming book that will focus on how consumers’ purchases of previously used items are not only healthy for the planet, but they are an answer to the consumerism that has pushed Americans’ spending habits to the max.

The project is run by Jenna Isaacson, a Washington, DC-based independent visual journalist and lover of all things thrift. She will travel the country to document consumerism in the country and the toll it has taken on valuable resources and financial stability. Isaacson, who grew up thrifting with her grandfather in Illinois and Florida, will travel cross-country and search for treasures at Goodwill stores in Albany, NY; Baltimore, MD; Burlington, VT; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, WV; Cleveland, OH; Columbia, SC; Columbus, OH; Concord, NH; Detroit, MI; Morgantown, WV; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, ME; Richmond, VA; Savannah, GA; Scranton, PA; and Stratford, NJ, photographically documenting the goods that can be found at Goodwill stores. When not visiting a Goodwill store, Isaacson will visit thrift stores that support local community efforts, including animal shelters, domestic violence shelters, hospices, hospitals, and services for people who are homeless. In the process, she will be encouraging a more ‘second-hand’ consumer lifestyle. Goodwill is sponsoring Isaacson’s transportation, a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle. BALCON Enterprises, a Gaylord box and bulk bag manufacturer, and supplier of packaging supplies used by various Goodwill agencies throughout the United States, is also sponsoring the project due to its commitment to environmental sustainability and Goodwill’s mission of providing job training for people with disabilities and disadvantages through the revenue from the sale of donated goods.

“With the economic paradigm shifting rapidly towards reuse and repurpose, showcasing America’s thrift stores, particularly Goodwill stores, is a great way to engage Americans’ creativity,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Jenna is taking her passion for donated goods and educating the public on the tie-in between donations and environmental sustainability. She’s also disproving negative stereotypes about thrift stores and bringing light to the Goodwill mission and sharing her knowledge of the benefits of second-hand living.”

Isaacson, who departed from Washington, DC, on her thrifting expedition, intends to raise awareness about the positive aspects of second-hand shopping in local communities while also demonstrating the benefits of donating, including shrinking landfills, reducing clutter, saving money for municipalities and boosting the economy. Isaacson’s trip will complete 48 of her 50 “thrifty” states. Her first trip was in June 2011, and she crisscrossed the country visiting more than 60 thrift stores, including 32 Goodwill stores in 30 states and traveling 10,200 miles.

“With All Thrifty States, my goal is to not only make an impact on the environment but to provide a window on the story of America’s communities through the observation of things they once owned,” said Isaacson, founder of All Thrifty States. “Goodwill stores are one example. The stores contain a distinct variety of items that are reasonably priced, stylish, fun and say a lot about the communities that surround them.”

For more information, visit http://allthriftystates.com or Twitter: @AllThriftyState and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Thrifty-States/112781348732621.

ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based, independent agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America’s 25 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2012). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,700 stores and online at www.shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation and document imaging and shredding. In 2012, more than 4 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill’s career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at locator.goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl or @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

SOURCE:

Goodwill Industries International

Read Full Post »

Annual Car Sales Strength Expected To Slow Following Three-Year Trend Of Double-Digit Growth, According To Kelley Blue Book Analysts

Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth; Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back

IRVINE, California, Feb. 13, 2013, New-vehicle sales are expected to grow nearly 6 percent in 2013 to 15.3 million units overall, breaking the three-year trend of double-digit sales growth that has persisted since 2010, according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information.

“Although the sales pace is expected to slow this year, automakers have demonstrated that they can generate solid profits with sales at current levels, which is a strong indication that they will remain disciplined by continuing to match production to meet demand,” said Alec Gutierrez , senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . “Sales growth won’t come easily, especially considering the challenges facing the industry in today’s economy. While economic growth is expected to arrive slowly in 2013, there are several indications that point toward solid auto industry sales growth in the years ahead.”

Among the various factors contributing to the ongoing recovery, Kelley Blue Book believes that pent-up demand, high used-vehicle values, improving credit availability and low interest rates all have played a direct role in the auto industry’s ability to outperform the economy. Each of these factors has been critical to-date and will continue to drive sales this year and beyond.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Sales to Hit 15.3 Million Units in 2013

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Annual Sales Volume   (Millions)

16.1

13.2

10.4

11.6

12.8

14.5

15.3

Auto Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth
The economy has come a long way since nearly collapsing in late 2008, yet a long road to recovery remains. At the depths of the recession in 2009, the unemployment rate hit a 30-year high of 10 percent, new-vehicle sales hit a 30-year low of 10.4 million units, and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index hit an all-time low of 25 (for perspective, in 1985 the index was at 100). Some feared the onset of a second Great Depression in 2009, and while a repeat of the 1930s doesn’t appear to be in the cards, the nation still has a long way to go before the economy is completely back on its feet.

Today unemployment remains at an uncomfortably high 7.8 percent, while consumer confidence is below 60, which is notably better than in 2009 but well below the 4.5 percent unemployment rate and 100+ consumer confidence readings from 2007. This is important to note since 2007 was the final year of a 10-year span in which the auto industry consistently posted sales of 16 million units or more. Although the economy has recovered slowly and still has a long way to go before unemployment and consumer confidence are back to levels last seen in 2007, Kelley Blue Book doesn’t see a reason why auto sales cannot continue to outperform the pace of the economic recovery.

“Looking at the historical relationship between unemployment and auto sales from the 1980s through 2007, unemployment would need to be below 6 percent to generate auto sales of 16 million units or more,” said Gutierrez. “According to estimates from the Federal Reserve, unemployment only will drop down to 7.4 percent in 2013 at best; a point that would historically justify sales of only 13 million to 14 million units. However, since 2010, new-car sales have outperformed their traditional relationship with unemployment, which means that sales in excess of 15 million units clearly are attainable.”

Auto sales also have outperformed their historical relationship to consumer confidence by a significant margin. Despite expectations for consumer confidence to remain well below levels historically required to justify sales of 15 million units or more, Kelley Blue Book believes auto sales will continue to grow as predicted provided that consumer confidence remains stable.

Pent-Up Demand Drives Growth Since 2010, Will Persist in 2013
While economic growth has remained relatively weak and only explains part of the auto sales recovery, Kelley Blue Book sees pent-up demand playing a more critical role in the rebirth of the industry. According to Polk, registered vehicles in the United States are 11 years old on average; the oldest ever recorded. The increase in vehicle age can be attributed to two key trends. First, vehicles have grown much older as consumers have opted to hold onto them longer, due to the weakened economy. Consumers have focused on deleveraging after the collapse of the real estate bubble, and unless they require a replacement or the model no longer meets the needs of its owners, many are choosing to hold on to their vehicle rather than acquire additional debt to purchase an all-new vehicle. This leads directly to the second major influence of increased vehicle age, which is improved vehicle quality.

Aging Vehicles to Continue to Generate Demand in 2013

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Avg. Registered

Vehicle Age

8.9

8.9

9

9.1

9.4

9.5

9.7

9.8

10

10.3

10.6

10.8

Source: Polk

“Vehicles produced during the past few model years are significantly higher in quality than those produced in previous decades,” said Gutierrez. “In the 1990s, consumers came to expect a vehicle produced by a Japanese manufacturer to last 100,000 miles and beyond. Now we can say the same about vehicles produced by all manufacturers. Whether shopping for a Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford or Hyundai, consumers can be reasonably assured that their vehicle will hit 100,000 miles with ease, and 200,000 miles or more with proper maintenance and care.”

With consumers delaying the purchase of a new vehicle due to economic hardship and improved vehicle quality, Kelley Blue Book expects the average age of vehicles on the road to continue to increase. As vehicles continue to get older and economic conditions slowly improve, buyers are expected to continue to return to market.

Leasing to Aid Sales Growth in 2013
When auto sales hit their low point in 2009, leasing all but dried up. The lack of lease returns during the past several years has played a pivotal role in the used-vehicle supply shortfall that has driven used-vehicle values to record highs. The reduced lease returns also have limited the number of consumers that traditionally would be seeking a new vehicle at the end of their lease term. While this reduced the number of in-market shoppers in recent years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates this trend to begin to reverse in 2013. Leasing bounced back in 2010, increasing nearly 700,000 units year-over-year. Kelley Blue Book believes that the return in leasing will generate as many as 300,000 additional in-market shoppers this year, a number that will increase in 2014 and beyond. With lease returns expected to approach more normal levels during the next few years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates new-vehicle sales to grow and used-vehicle values to soften.

Kelley Blue Book: Increase in Lease Returns to

Drive Boost in Demand for 2013

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

Vehicles

Leased

2,446,569

2,453,189

1,935,910

1,083,619

1,709,149

1,960,128

2,284,800

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back
Consumers looking to purchase a new vehicle in 2013 will find affordable pricing on some of the best vehicles being produced today. On average, consumers can expect to find new vehicles priced at approximately 94 percent of MSRP, not including incentives. Not only are transaction prices quite favorable for consumers, but interest rates also remain at historically low levels.

“Consumers with a solid credit history should have no trouble obtaining a loan for 3 percent or less for up to 72 months,” said Gutierrez. “Many automakers continue to offer loans of zero percent for up to 60 months, as well as rock-bottom lease payments around $160 per month for a compact and only a few dollars north of $200 per month for a mid-size.”

Leases accounted for approximately 18 percent of all vehicles sold in 2012, returning to levels regularly seen prior to the collapse in industry sales in 2009. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that interest rates will remain near zero through at least 2015, so consumers looking for a new vehicle can expect to find affordable pricing on new models for several years to come.

The affordability of new vehicles has been made even more attractive by the high values maintained by used cars. Although approximately 8 percent below the all-time highs seen in 2011, late-model used-car values remain uncomfortably close to new-car transaction prices, influencing many consumers to purchase new rather than used. This phenomenon is most pronounced for high-demand vehicles such as subcompact, compact and mid-size cars. These vehicles all have been significantly upgraded in recent years and generate excellent fuel economy for an affordable price. As a result, they have maintained extraordinarily strong values in the used-car market. In fact, the difference between a five-year payment on a new car and a 1- to 2-year-old used model is as little as $30 per month apart in some cases. Kelley Blue Book expects used-car values to continue to ease from current highs, so this phenomenon likely will play less of a role in the years ahead.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Pricing Remains

Near Used-Car Pricing

MY2013
(New)

MY 2012 (Used)

MY2011

MY2010

MY2009

MY2008

Average Monthly

Payment for a Compact

$335

$302

$280

$253

$224

$202

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book ‘s KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb/.

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. KBB.com provides consumer pricing and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE:

Kelley Blue Book

Read Full Post »

Majority of Consumers to Spend Up to $100 on Valentine’s Day Gifts, PriceGrabber® Survey Finds

36 Percent of Shoppers Plan to Compare Prices in-Store Using Mobile Phones

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2013, Online shopping site PriceGrabber® just released results of its 2013 Valentine’s Day Shopping Survey, revealing a majority of consumers plan to shower their loved ones with gifts this Valentine’s Day holiday. Sixty-two percent of consumers plan to spend up to $100 on gifts this year, a decrease from 68 percent in 2012. However, 36 percent of consumers plan to spend more than $100 compared to 28 percent in 2012. Conducted from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31, 2013, the survey includes responses from 2,251 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Valentine’s Day Shopping Budgets On Par or Slightly Higher than 2012
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked about their spending habits compared with last year, 52 percent indicated they plan to spend the same amount as in 2012. Twenty-six percent will spend more, 17 percent will spend less, and 5 percent will not purchase a gift this year. According to PriceGrabber’s survey, the economic climate continues to be a relevant factor in shoppers’ mindsets, with 55 percent indicating the economy will have an effect on their Valentine’s Day purchasing decisions in 2013.

Consumers to Hit Stores and Shop Online for Gifts; Mobile Makes a Presence
Shoppers plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts in a variety of ways this year, with online and mobile shopping continuing to increase in popularity. When consumers were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts, 69 percent indicated they would buy gifts from a store, up from 54 percent in 2012. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they would purchase gifts online, a significant increase from 34 percent last year. This was followed by 5 percent of shoppers that indicated a purchase via electronic tablet device, compared to 1 percent in 2012; and 4 percent cited a purchase using a mobile phone, a slight increase from 2 percent last year.

“Consumers continue to shop and conduct product research in advance of making purchases in order to find the best pricing on products. We expect this trend to continue as shoppers hit the stores and go online to make their Valentine’s Day gift purchases this year,” said Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.com. “Our survey showed that 36 percent of consumers plan to compare prices using their mobile phones when Valentine’s Day gift shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, a jump from 29 percent in 2012, revealing that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to look for the best deals.”

Many shoppers will celebrate with an evening out and purchase greeting cards
When consumers were asked to select all of the things they plan to spend money on during their Valentine’s Day celebration, 39 percent indicated they would spend money on an evening out. This was followed by 35 percent of shoppers who noted they would purchase a greeting card for a loved one; 22 percent will buy flowers; and 20 percent will purchase candy. Fourteen percent of consumers selected jewelry, another 14 percent cited clothing and an additional 14 percent said they plan to buy themed gifts, such as stuffed animals or a heart-shaped present.

Most will shop one week in advance and plan to use cash and credit cards for purchases
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked when they plan to purchase their gifts, 43 percent said they will do so one week in advance. Twenty-five percent of shoppers will purchase gifts two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, 22 percent will shop within 48 hours of the gift giving day, and 10 percent will shop three weeks prior. Cash and credit cards are the most popular forms of payment among consumers planning to buy Valentine’s Day gifts this year. When survey respondents were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to pay for a gift purchase, 55 percent said a credit card and another 55 percent cited cash. Eleven percent of consumers indicated they will use gift cards to make purchases.

For shrewd shopping on any budget, visit http://www.pricegrabber.com to browse products, compare prices, read merchant reviews, find local deals, online deals, and more. Download the mobile application for smart shopping on the go.

INFOGRAPHIC: http://i.pgcdn.com/images/infographics/valentinesday2013.jpg

About PriceGrabber.com®
PriceGrabber is a leading online shopping site with more than 23 million unique shoppers monthly. At PriceGrabber, savvy shoppers can instantly find and compare over 80 million unique products and services across 25 categories with more than 11,000 merchants. Compare products side by side to find the right retailers at the best prices within popular categories, such as Digital Cameras, TVs, Electronics, Computers, Clothing, Books, and more. PriceGrabber provides shoppers with the right product from the right merchant at the best price anytime, anywhere. Visit us at http://www.pricegrabber.com.

SOURCE: PriceGrabber.com

Read Full Post »

Hotwire Reveals January 2013 Travel Savings Indicator

Shed the Winter Chill with Deep Discounts in Warmer Weather Destinations like Hawaii, the Florida Keys and Las Vegas.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 23, 2013, Hotwire.com®, a leading discount travel site, today released the January 2013 Hotwire® Travel Savings Indicator, which features the top five cities in North America where hotel, air and car rental rates have dropped the most as compared to the same time last year. Using extensive pricing research to cover the three most popular travel products, the report helps guide travelers to the best destinations for maximizing their travel dollars each month.

“With the major holidays and conventions mostly behind us, mid- to late-January is one of the most affordable times to travel all year,” said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group. “This slower winter season has led travel providers in warmer weather destinations like Hawaii, Daytona Beach, the Florida Keys and Las Vegas to discount more competitively in their bid to win travelers, who in turn can take advantage of the low prices to grab an affordable wintertime escape.”

Hotel Price Drops

Daytona tops the list this month with an eight percent drop followed by another popular Florida destination, the Florida Keys with a six percent drop. While January is typically a busier month for these sunny Floridian beach towns, the mild winter in the Northeast has translated into decreased demand and, in turn, better discounts. And with the weather in the Keys averaging 70 degrees this time of year, the archipelago is perfect for travelers looking to escape the winter chill.

Raleigh, returning after a brief absence from the list, comes in at the number three spot, with a price drop of six percent. More hotels in the city are beginning to offer more rooms at a big discount on Hotwire, which translates to more competition among hoteliers for the lowest prices.

Next is Las Vegas, appearing on the list for the sixth month in a row, though down two spots from December with a price drop of six percent. Travelers can expect lots of last-minute price drops on the weekends throughout early January, as well as some stellar discounts on 5-star luxury properties.

Rounding out the list is Nashville with a two percent drop. Now that the college and pro football seasons have wrapped up and the country music awards are through, the demand is low in Music City, and so are the prices.

When compared to this time last year, the top five hotel price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Hotel Market

Price Drops

Example of a Current Hotwire Deal,

US$/Night

1

Daytona Beach, FL

– 8%

3.5-star

$66

2

Florida Keys

– 6%

3.5-star

$139

3

Raleigh – Durham, NC

– 6%

4-star

$86

4

Las Vegas, NV

– 6%

5-star

$107

5

Nashville, TN

– 3%

4-star

$89

Air Price Drops

This month, beachgoers are in luck because Hawaii is the hottest deal market, with nearly every island seeing a considerable drop in airfare prices. As United, Hawaiian, Delta and Alaskan airlines continue to compete for more passengers, each airline is offering more seats and better deals for visitors headed to the Aloha State. Prices in Honolulu and Kailua Kona – tied for first place – are both down 15 percent, while the prices in fifth-place Kahului are down 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Toronto returns to the list in the number three spot with a 14 percent drop due to its continued competition with U.S. border towns. Along with its hosting of the Toronto International Boat Show and Canadian Bridal show, this Canadian destination backs up its low airfares with lots of early-year activities. Rounding out the list is another Tennessean city – Memphis – down three spots to number four with a 13 percent drop.

When compared to this time last year, the top five airfare price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Air Market

Price Drops

Average Hotwire Airfare

1

Honolulu, Oahu, HI

-15%

$587

2

Kailua Kona, Big Island, HI

-15%

$528

3

Toronto, Ontario

-14%

$384

4

Memphis, TN

-13%

$323

5

Kahului, Maui, HI

-12%

$512

Car Price Drops

In car rental deals, January is seeing newcomers for spots two through five, giving way to fantastic coast to coast savings. Monterey, absent from the list since this past September, took the number one spot with a 19 percent price drop, and with January being California Restaurant Month, it’s a prime time for couples looking to wine and dine their way around Central California’s coast.

Raleigh is another hot deal market this month, as folks traveling to the City of Oaks are not only able to score some great airfare deals, but they can take advantage of car discounts (17 percent drop) as well. Finishing off the list are two Midwest cities, Indianapolis (12 percent) and Columbus (10 percent), as well as a Rocky Mountain favorite, Colorado Springs (11 percent), where some of the country’s best skiing is within easy driving distance.

When compared to this time last year, the top five car rental price reductions for January 2013 include:

Rank

Car Rental Market

Price Drops

Average Hotwire Car Rental Price

1

Monterey, CA

-19%

$24

2

Raleigh, NC

-17%

$19

3

Indianapolis, IN

-12%

$23

4

Colorado Springs, CO

– 11%

$28

5

Columbus, Ohio

– 10%

$23

For over 12 years, Hotwire has worked with hotels, airlines and car rental companies to fill unsold inventory. As a result, Hotwire offers travelers amazing deals, every day of the year, across a variety of markets. Through Hotwire’s deep understanding of the industry and unique relationships, consumers have been able to save millions of dollars on all their travel needs.

About the Hotwire Travel Savings Indicator

The Hotwire Travel Savings Indicator runs results during the second week of each month. Results are calculated by looking at Hotwire booking data for select regions in the current month, and comparing prices in the current month against Hotwire prices in the same month in the prior year. Prices are compared within the same categories (e.g., star rating, class of car) for consistency, and the percent change in price for each region is generated as an overall average of the changes in those categories. The hotel prices in the charts above are examples for a particular Hot Rate® deal within that market. The airfare and car rental prices are average prices based on bookings across all car and seat classes. Actual prices may be higher or lower than the examples that are provided.

About Hotwire

Hotwire.com is a leading discount travel site with low rates on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire, Inc. obtains deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help travelers book unsold airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars. Hotwire.com is an award-winning website and Hotwire, Inc. is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. CST # 2029030-50. NST: 20003-0209. For more information, visit http://www.hotwire.com. Hotwire.com operates sites in 8 countries worldwide: www.hotwire.com, www.hotwire.com/uk, www.hotwire.com/ie, www.hotwire.com/au, www.hotwire.com/nz, www.hotwire.com/se, www.hotwire.com/no and www.hotwire.com/dk. In addition to Hotwire, The Hotwire Group of websites includes: www.hotwire.com and www.carrentals.com.

Hotwire, Hotwire.com and the Hotwire logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotwire, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2013 Hotwire, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2053390-50.

Contact:
Andrew Reynolds
Atomic PR
(323) 648-5425
Andrew@atomicpr.com

 

SOURCE: Hotwire.com

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »