Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Women cut back more than men, survey says


Gender differences are playing out at stores and restaurants across the country, economically speaking.

shopping bagMore women than men cut spending “moderately to significantly” last year – 72 percent of women versus 62 percent of men – according to a new survey being released by Empathica.

“The fact is women still bear more of the responsibility for households than men,” and are being “more cautious” about their spending outlook, said Gary Edwards, Empathica’s vice president of client services.

The amount people cut back did not surprise Richard Hastings, consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities LLC. What matters for merchants, brands and marketing analysis is the “enduring nature of this attitude,” he said.

Check Out Line: Holiday tips to take hit


haircut1Check out the probable lower level of tips for service providers during the holidays.Chalk up tips for cleaning people, school teachers, barbers, mail carriers and others as another probable victim of the weak U.S. economy, according to a new poll conducted by Consumer Reports magazine.  The magazine polled Americans about their tipping habits during the 2008 holidays and again in October and found 26 percent of Americans who usually tip or give a gift to a service provider said they would spend less this holiday season. Just 6 percent planed to spend more.”Families are looking for ways to balance their financial concerns with the need to thank people who have helped them during the year,” Tobie Stanger, senior editor at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “This year, tipping is more of a challenge than ever, but CR’s survey shows that people are still trying to do it, for the most part.”The average value of tips (i.e. some were gifts instead of cash or gift cards) varied by occupation, with a cleaning person at $50, a child’s teacher and a hairdresser at $20, and a manicurist at $10, according to Consumer Reports.Some readers told the magazine they plan to still say thanks with a card or homemade gift.Also in the basket:Food the focus as Wal-Mart starts holiday givingKraft quarterly results could make a case to CadburyADM profit soars past Wall Street estimatesPolo 2nd-qtr profit tops Street viewWalgreen October sales up a bit more than expectedEnergizer quarterly profit falls(Reuters photo)

Check Out Line: Another bleak holiday forecast


Check Out a new survey by market research firm NPD Group that says this year’s winter holiday will USA-ECONOMY/be better than last year’s but still not that merry. 

Thirty percent of consumers who responded to the survey said they planned to spend less on holiday gifts this year, up from 26 percent last year.

Many Americans plan to spend less on gifts this year


USA/If you received a great Christmas present last year, and are hoping for the same kind of treatment this year, don’t hold your breath — U.S. consumers are planning to spend conservatively this holiday season, according to two new surveys.

Gallup poll found that consumers, on average, plan to spend $740 this year on holiday gifts. At this time last year, consumers said they planned to spend $801 on average. That number fell to $616 during a November poll, although it recovered slightly to $639 in a December poll.

I know where I want to buy that toy


If you are one of those people who comes across a toy store and buys something on impulse, you are probably in the minority.INDIA

Seven out of ten toy purchases were planned, and the top decision made by consumers was where to shop, according to a “Toy Purchase Decisions” report by market research firm NPD Group. The survey was conducted online with 2,344 participants.

The rich (in Bentonville) get richer


Wal-Mart has been the big retail winner in the recession and new data suggests that it could keep some of its gains after the economy recovers. walmartt
According to a survey by America’s Research Group, 9.3 percent of consumers surveyed said they had shopped at Wal-Mart for the first time this year.
Of those, a whopping 98.9 percent said that they would shop there again and the same number said they would continue to shop there once the recession ends.
“We’re watching the total domination for this retailer called Wal-Mart,” America’s Research founder and CEO Britt Beemer said.
The results were from a series of questions America’s Research asked on behalf of Reuters during the group’s weekly holiday shopping survey.

(Reuters photo)

Food recalls worry shoppers


tomato.jpgShoppers loading up their carts may be becoming more wary of the food they pick up from the shelves, according to a food safety survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP.
The survey, which polled 1,110 consumers across America on April 21, found that 57 percent of people stopped eating a type of food either permanently or temporarily because of a food recall. 
The poll also found a sharp contrast in consumer perceptions of imported food versus domestic food, with 56 percent reporting that they think imported food is “not at all” or “somewhat” safe. Eighty percent said they think food produced domestically is safe.
Meat recalls ranked as a top food safety concern. Seventy-eight percent of consumers were concerned about beef recalls, while 67 percent were worried about chicken recalls.
Dairy recalls and fresh fruit/vegetable recalls followed at 53 percent each.
The results were released as restaurants and retailers began to pull certain types of tomatoes from their menus and shelves after a salmonella scare that has resulted in 145 reported cases and 23 hospitalizations, the U.S. Food and Drug administration said as of Saturday. The largest recall ever of meat in the U.S. occurred in February, mainly involving beef products.
Survey respondents also overwhelmingly (89 percent) said they want to see stores sell more fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, and 69 percent said they were willing to pay slightly more as a result.
Full survey results can be found here.

(Phot: Reuters)