Consumers are already shopping for holiday gifts. But budgets remain tight so finding deals online and in the stores will be important for most shoppers. And the latest research shows that online coupons play a key role in the bargain hunting strategy.
The price of food, utilities and gas and the continued low return on investment are combining in a negative way for consumers. About 44% say they are worse off this year. Spending reductions uncovered in SymphonyIRI’s quarterly MarketPulse survey are coming in the following categories:
- Smaller budget for holiday gifts 26%
- Rein in spending on celebration-related foods and beverages 16%
- Cutbacks on adult beverages 11%
For most consumers, 74%, the holiday budget, including gifts and celebrations, stands at about $800. This amount is about the same as it was last year.
Rising prices for commodities means that consumers will have to shop hard to stay even with what they bought last year. For many, this means couponing. Consumer sentiment about coupons this year shows an intense search for bargains is already underway:
- Those who plan to use more coupons from retailer websites: 44%
- Those who plan to use more group coupons: 61%
- Those who will take advantage of more online promotions: 48%
- Those who will spend more time comparing products online: 43%
During this holiday season, it’s likely both online and brick and mortar retailers will be rolling out unique and attention-getting coupon offers to increase their sales. And since 73% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before December 1, it’s likely these promotions will begin soon.[Source: Johnsen, Michael. SymphonyIRI: Budget Grinch. RetailingToday.com. 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 1 Nov. 2011]