Discounts may abound, but holiday shoppers are still
searching for a better deal – and they’re holding off on their gift
buying until those deals come along, according to an article in today’s CNNMoney.com.
Weekly chain store sales for
the week ended Dec. 2 dipped 2.6% from the previous week,
according to an index published by the International Council of
Shopping Centers (ICSC) and UBS Securities.
Sales, however, rose 3.1% from the year-ago period, according to the index, which is designed to reflect industry sales. "Through this past Sunday, consumers shopped less and completed less
of their total expected holiday spending than even last year," Michael
Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist, said.
But industry experts said more shoppers
look like they’re holding off to make their purchases, and with
Christmas falling on a Monday this year, shoppers will have an extra
day to pick up last-minute gifts. An overwhelming number of those bargain
seekers – nearly 82% – said they’re looking for discounts to
Britt Beemer, a retail industry observer and
founder of ARG, said the desire for discounts is the strongest he’s
seen in 20 years. "I’ve never seen such bargain-driven shoppers," he
said in a statement.
Wal-Mart has led the pack with heavy discounts this year, placing pressure on rivals like Target, Costco and Best Buy.
Besides hitting brick-and-mortar stores, shoppers have been rushing online. eBay was the most popular online shopping destination over the weekend,
according to online audience measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings.
The e-commerce site attracted 11.8 million unique visitors on Sunday alone, more than double the visitors who checked out Amazon, the second most popular destination.
to ComScore Networks, so far this holiday season online retail spending
has jumped 24% from the same period last year.
spent $11.7 billion on retail purchases, excluding travel, made on the
Web between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, the online traffic tracker said.
expects total online spending in the final two months of 2006 to hit
$24.3 billion, up 24 percent from $19.6 billion in 2005.
Source: Grace Wong, CNNMoney.com