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Bargain-Hunting Shoppers May Mean a Cruel Yule for Retailers



If you hope to fill your till with yuletide joy this holiday season, you'd better be prepared to make consumers a compelling offer, a new survey shows. Shoppers said they plan to buy less and will be on the lookout for bargains. Store foot traffic is likely to be down as well.

A national survey of 1,000 Americans sponsored by Steelhouse, a marketing technology company, asked them how the current state of the economy will affect their shopping and buying habits this holiday season . More than four out of five (82 percent) of respondents said their shopping behavior will change this year.

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said they will spend less money overall. Half said that they'll comparison shop more, nearly one-third said they'd no longer buy without a discount or free shipping , and nearly 30 percent said they'll browse more online than in the malls to find the best deals.

Social media will also play a role this holiday season, the survey found, with women twice as likely as men to use social media to find deals and share them with friends. Those in the highest income group ($75,000 and above) will make fewer changes in the amount they spend, but will make changes in order to find deals — seeking discounts, free shipping and coupons more than those who have smaller incomes.

Across the board, survey respondents with children in the house will be making more changes in their shopping behavior than those without kids, the survey found.  Women, overall, will make more changes than men, but both sexes will be looking for a deal.

"It's clear that shoppers this holiday season aren't going to buy unless presented with a compelling offer," said Mark Douglas, Steelhouse CEO. "The challenge for retailers is figuring out the right deal for every shopper since the same offer isn't going to work for everyone. The winners this holiday season will be the retailers who tailor their offers to shoppers while they're shopping, before they move on to see a competitor offer."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.




Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.