Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shopping Stats, Charity Malls, and A Few Other Fun Things About Shopping


MarketWatch Reports

According to news at MarketWatch, grim job news might finally spur consumers to change their spending habits. It starts out, "Merry Christmas, you're fired" and goes on to comment that job "despair might temper consumer spending this holiday." This comes at no surprise, of course, unless you live under a rock somewhere, or don't own a television, computer, radio, or read any news.

Also at MarketWatch, an article titled Releases 2008 Black Friday Online Shopping Statistics displays the "Top 10 Categories and Percent Growth over Black Friday 2007" and the "Most popular products on Black Friday." Let us save you the click (because we know you're tired from job stress and shopping):

Top 10 Categories and Percent Growth over Black Friday 2007
1. Women's Boots - 203%
2. Watches - 202%
3. Blu-ray/HD-DVD Players - 147%
4. Women's Sleep & Lounge Wear - 415%
5. Games & Puzzles - 151%
6. Women's Jackets - 110%
7. Music - 96%
8. Headphones - 103%
9. Women's Dresses - 107%
10. Women's Casual Shoes - 143%

Most popular products on Black Friday
1. Nintendo Wii Console
2. Ugg Australia 'Classic Short' Boot
3. Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player
4. Samsung LN52A650 52" LCD TV
5. Nintendo Wii Fit
6. Panasonic TH-42PX80U 42" Plasma TV
7. Sennheiser HD 555 Headphones
8. Canon EOS Rebel XSi Black SLR Digital Camera Kit
9. Acer Aspire One AOA110-1295 Notebook
10. Canon PowerShot A590 IS Black Digital Camera

Don't you feel better for knowing that? I know I do. Keep in mind that this is just from PriceGrabber. What is interesting is that electronics won by a landslide, and clothes/accessories came in a remote second, with music, games and puzzles squeezing in after that.

If you haven't noticed, the messages we're hearing are a little mixed, or at least complex to interpret accurately.
"Prior to the Black Friday weekend, 71 percent of shoppers intended to spend less money this holiday season compared to last year and 66 percent planned to give practical gifts," said Ron LaPierre, president of "Thanksgiving and Black Friday traffic shows that value drives consumer spending. Consumers are responding to aggressive promotions and price drops on popular electronics."

How 'bout that. In English, "price matters." Hmm. Just to be sure, perhaps we should commission a government study on that?

Hitwise Shopping Stats

Continuing in this vein, Heather Dougherty of Hitwise Intelligence writes:
"Thanksgiving, which has been the heaviest day of traffic to online retailers over the past 4 years, experienced an 11 percent decline in the market share of visits as compared to last year. The websites of brick & mortar retailers took a harder hit with a 16% decline as compared to last year, while traffic to web-only retailers was up 11%.

For Black Friday, traffic to the Retail 500 was down 5% year-over-year, with the brick & mortar players also down 10%. Web-only retailers also fared better with a 10% increase over last year, where Black Friday was the peak traffic day of the holiday season (followed by Cyber Monday, suggesting today may also prove fruitful)."

The chart says it all, though. Online shopping, up, for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. ;-) Discussion over. Online shopping rules!

According to Hitwise, however, electronics is down 11% overall(?). Check out the rest

Elisabeth on SearchEngineLand

Oh, but we're not really done yet. Elisabeth Osmeloski. We didn't know who she was, but the stats geek in us also liked her article at SearchEngineLand, so, we hunted her down. Sharp cookie, apparently. Elisabeth shares a Cyber Monday 2008 snapshot:

"Among the top 500 Retail Web sites, the percentage of U.S. visits were down 1% on Cyber Monday 2008, compared to 2007. U.S visits to Brick and Mortar store Web sites (100 total) were down >4% on Cyber Monday.

U.S visits to Online-only Web sites (100 total) were up 5% on on Cyber Monday.
U.S visits to the Comparison Shopping Web sites were down 21% on Cyber Monday.
U.S visits to the Catalog Web sites were down 4% on Cyber Monday.

Percentages based on U.S. visits to the top 500 Retail Web sites.

1. - 10.77%
2. - 8.55%

3. - 4.56%

4. - 3.81%

5. - 2.74%’s traffic increased 21% on Cyber Monday 2008 vs. 2007.’s traffic increased 6%.

Google’s most searched gifts:

1. nintendo wii
2. wii fit

3. ipod touch

4. xbox 360
5. nintendo ds

6. ipod nano

7. uggs

8. nikon d90

9. zune

10. digital picture frame"

Except for the raw facts (although we don't really know the accuracy of sources, now do we?), the fuzziness comes in interpreting them. Unless, of course, you are Amazon.

Nice job, again, Mr. Bezos. Who's laughing now, eh?

One last time...

National Retail Foundation Speaks

According to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, conducted by BIGresearch,
"more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 147 million shoppers last year. Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year’s $347.55. Total spending reached an estimated $41.0 billion. Though retailers in all categories were featuring big bargains, a majority of shoppers visited discount stores for holiday deals. According to the survey, more than half (54.7%) of this weekend’s shoppers visited discount stores. Nearly half (43.0%) shopped at a traditional department store, up 11.1 percent from 38.7 percent last year. About one-third of shoppers visited specialty stores like clothing or electronics stores (36.0%) and shopped online (34.0%)."

Whether we are shopping with appropriate caution or with reckless abandon, all depends on our personal circumstances, and I'm sure a lot of both are occurring. But even after all the stats, the bottom line is that we're buying plenty of stuff, and a lot of it online. (Don't you feel smarter now?)


If we're all doing so much shopping, maybe we should do some of it for a worthy cause. Once again, here are some ways to do that.

Changing the Present


About Changing The Present
Welcome to Changing The Present, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit website offering gifts that change the world. Browse our causes to find gifts that make a difference, or search for your favorite nonprofit to make a donation. You can share these gifts with your friends and family, or use them for your own nonprofit giving. Our gifts are a great alternative to that bath set or novelty sweater you were planning to wrap up this holiday season -- just choose "Create A Card" from the shopping cart to send a personalized greeting card announcing each gift you donate in a friend's name.

JustGive has harnessed the power of the Internet to remove barriers to charitable giving. Our technology, combined with our vast nonprofit experience, allows us to provide unique services, programs and advantages. At JustGive, you can:

  • Find the charities you want to support.

  • Discover everyday ways to support your causes.

  • Track donations through your personal Giving History.

  • Make private, secure donations.

  • Become an informed, knowledgeable donor.
They use an interesting touch of viral marketing with their Tell A Friend option. Kudos to them for adding a touch of social networking for a social cause.


The saga continues on gift cards. We wrote about the Michigan legislation on gift cards in a previous blog (must be good for 5 years) and poo-pooed the radical thought that we should not buy gift cards because retailers are closing stores.

Apparently, emails were flying about this closing-retailer scare and the possible impact on gift cards. One e-mail circulating on the Web was aimed at making consumers fearful of gift cards for this reason. The e-mail contended stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling gift cards that won’t be honored after January 1. The message was followed by what appears to be a new list of store closings — when in actuality, many were announced earlier this year. The e-mail also falsely indicated that J. Jill is closing, when in fact the parent company, The Talbots Inc., said it has put the chain up for sale.

(Was this email from Nigeria, I wonder?)

This prompted some communication from AnnTaylor Stores, who wrote:
“'It has come to our attention that false and misleading information, regarding our company and our store closure program, is circulating on the Web as part of a hoax to scare consumers away from purchasing gift cards.' The company stressed its financial health and said it revealed plans last January to close 117 underperforming stores over a three-year period. The company stressed its gift cards will continue to be honored at all of its stores as well as on its Web site."

The site by the way, where this appeared, is (Women's Wear Daily). Good place for fashion news.

We want to be clear - we're not saying to run out and buy gifts en masse without any regard for the health of the company, especially if the company or chain is closing. But if only a number of stores are closing and the company operates on the Web, this should not deter your gift card purchase.


The good people at Personal Finance Analyst have a thought for you.

Personal Finance Analyst is an online community of bloggers dedicated to taking the mystery out of money and helping you to live a happier, more successful life with the money you have. (There's a challenge if I ever heard one. ;-)

Seriously, they offer:

  • Money-saving tips for grocery shopping, energy, entertainment, and more.

  • Advice on loans, mortgages, investments, and retirement planning.

  • News about current financial events and how they impact you personally.

  • Creative financial planning and ways to get the life you want now.

  • Honest reviews of banks, financial institutions, and their products.

  • Personal finance basics, explained in easy-to-understand terms.
And since we can't let the gift card thing go, they offer some advice on Shopping for Gift Credit Cards that we wanted to toss your way.

According to the experts:

"Enter gift credit cards. These are “credit cards” in the sense that they work just like a Visa, MasterCard or Amex, but there really isn’t any actual credit involved. The cards are prepaid and loaded with funds by the purchaser. Unlike other prepaid credit cards, they generally can’t be “reloaded” after use of the original funds. In theory, this will allow the recipient to buy something he or she really wants anywhere that takes major credit cards (which is just about anywhere). It solves the “perfect gift” problem and skirts the inherent limitations of the good ol’ gift certificate."

They go on to offer some good tips and a few links. Check 'em out here and tell 'em Shop Talk
sent ya.


You Bought Me a Personalized What!?

We thought this was worth a mention, as a cool niche site.

pexagon is Making Storage Personal(tm) these days, with their personalized thumb drives and other stuff. Read about pexagon here. They have a host of other things like pens and laser-engraved knives, but the personalized storage is their forte. Check out the flash drives, especially the Animal drives. Fun stuff.


We had to end with this one.

One in three people feel stressed out during the holidays, according to a Gallup poll.

That’s not hard to believe when you think about the obligations, the crowds and the craziness that comes with the Christmas season. To make sure you’re on the other side of that statistic, here are five ways to have fun shopping for holiday gifts, rather than getting stressed.

Hey - and Lord knows, we all need a little more fun and a little less stress.

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at
DreamWorthy Gifts

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