The Holidays: Not Over Yet

Beware Holiday Shopping; It’s On the Move

My friend Will recently warned us that the holiday season is nearly upon us. To that I say: bull. It’s practically past. According to a Compete Holiday Insight Survey, more than 50 percent of consumers had begun their holiday purchasing as of October 24. And, according to another Compete survey, 3 percent of consumers had completed their holiday purchases by October 16. That’s more than two months in advance (we know who you are, Aunt Teresa). And take note here, too, my dear content merchandiser: early bird shoppers tend to spend more and prefer to shop online. This year, the average online purchase is about 30 percent higher than in-store spending. The bell of opportunity is ringing… or maybe it’s almost rung.

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Virtual Gift Cards for Last-Minute Shoppers

For those of us in the 49 percent, who plan to start shopping closer to December 16, 17, 18… 24… virtual gift cards are a relieving solution. Starbucks,, Best Buy, Gap Inc., Pizza Hut, Staples, and American Express all offer a virtual gift card option, and it looks like more retailers will be jumping in.

“‘We added the (e-gift card) option because we increasingly see our customers access our brand through mobile and online means,’ said Pizza Hut spokesman Chris Fuller.”

A signal of a larger trend, the virtual gift card stole 4 percent of last year’s total gift card market. Target and Starbucks have also introduced mobile phone gift cards in an effort to take advantage of the rampant addiction to smartphones (stick around for an upcoming Ping post on how a smartphone can be bad for your business and how you can make it work for you).

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