Friday, January 13, 2012

Resolution Shopping Season

I am looking forward to next week when the final 2011 holiday season sales numbers are released to corroborate an old post, The Cheesecake Barometer. I predicted consumers would start spending money again. Nevertheless, we are in the midst of new holiday season created by retailers labeled the Resolution Shopping Season.

Read On:
According to the market research firm NPD, the average consumer visits a big-box retailer once every two to three weeks. In contrast, shoppers go to the grocery store every seven to ten days. Consequently big-box retailers are adding grocery items to increase visitation, but they also know that getting people to buy impulsively is key. NPD reported that impulse purchases have dropped from 29% in 2008. down to 15% in 2010. Accordingly, retailers are creating additional seasons beyond Christmas to enhance their merchandising/impulse sales.

The first holiday season officially has kicked in. In recognition that a majority of shoppers made New Year’s resolutions (e.g., health & wellness, personal organization, etc.), retailers are promoting items geared towards these resolutions. No surprise the number one resolution is weight loss. January has always been a good month to get bargains on exercising equipment or health club memberships. A quick check of GNC’s website revealed that they have an abundant number of promotions across their entire product line. Electronic activity monitors which measure calories burned, critical to successful weight loss management, are this year’s rage. Their prices range from $100 (Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity tracker) to $300 (Motorola’s new Motoactv). Target is heavily promoting their “Storage and Organization” product lines (save up to 25%) for consumers looking to organize their homes. IKEA also has special home organization offers, but for those shoppers that do not care about health & wellness and want to remain a couch potato during the football playoffs, they are promoting their BESTÃ… VARA TV/storage combination to help you get organized for game day.

Have you organized your resolutions shopping list yet?


  1. What a great point, Jim. Not to mention - most "healthy" items have been marked up significantly because of the consumer's perceived "need." Great way to increase profits

  2. Based on the initial numbers I saw, spending was up over LY, but far below 2007. It came up, but only relatively. Regarding the sales themes, these categories have been promoted for decades. I remember Target "organizing bins" from the 80's. You'd think that the retailers would try to get innovative and clever. Perhaps its just not the year. I remain bullish on a recovery, although it will likely be a slow one. And a 7.5 to 8% unemployment rate is the new normal, I'm afraid. Take it to the bank...

  3. OHhhh, you hit a number of my 'hot buttons' here. I teach Science of Retail at DePaul so keep track of this all too much. First, love to NPD (former employer).

    Yesterday, word is 4th quarter wasn't as robust as originally thought. The tactics you mention ar very much about increasing visitation and getting people in the door. Impulse purchases are impacted by in-store merchandising. However, it IS interesting the trend to create these reason's to shop and drive consumer 'excitement'.

    The game changer for retail is per your last post: Digital. And second: Experience.