According to a new survey from American Express, 30% of U.S. consumers plan to adjust this year's travel plans for Thanksgiving — historically one of the busiest travel days of the year — but only 21% expect those expenses to decrease compared to last year. Respondents whose plans are changing said they'll rely more on automobile travel, stay for a shorter time and cash-in rewards to help pay for holiday trips. The most significant changes are from the young professionals — 37% said they've adjusted their plans versus the affluent and general population (both 30%).
With an understanding that many of today's shoppers use Facebook and Twitter regularly, and because these tools are more cost-effective than traditional advertising, 47.1% of retailers surveyed will be increasing their use of social media this holiday season, according to a recent Shop.org study. In addition, to provide consumers with an extra incentive to start shopping, one-third of retailers (34.3%) say they will offer holiday deals earlier this year. Online retailer are also compensating for the economy by offering incentives such as free shipping. Four out of five online retailers (79.4%) will offer free shipping with conditions (such as minimum purchase) at some point during the holiday season, while more than half (57.4%) also plan to offer free shipping without conditions.
The outlook for seasonal hiring in the fourth quarter of 2009 is projected to be similar to 2008, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Eighteen percent of hiring managers plan to hire seasonal workers to meet business needs associated with the holidays and end-of-the-year wrap-ups, on par with 17% in 2008. Seasonal positions may prove to be the break job seekers are looking for as three-in-ten (31%) hiring managers indicate they are likely to hire a seasonal worker for a full time position. The most popular positions identified for seasonal recruitment include customer service, retail sales, administrative/clerical, hospitality, shipping/delivery, inventory, technology and accounting/finance.
Corporate gift giving has extended beyond the traditional December holidays, and many companies have adjusted their schedule to send a little something to clients for Thanksgiving.