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Marketers Positioned to Unwrap Higher Sales this Holiday Season


By Susan Viamari

With the 2014 holiday season drawing near, marketers should have a lot to feel good about, according to IRI’s Q3 2014 MarketPulse™ survey. Consumer confidence is on an upward trajectory, and shoppers say they’re planning to spend a bit more during this holiday season. The National Retail Federation predicts retail sales will be up by 4.1 percent this November and December, with overall 2014 holiday sales projected at $616.9 billion—an increase of more than 3.1 percent over 2013.

For consumers rolling into the holiday season on a high note, spending plans may include a more extravagant holiday meal. Five percent of consumers plan to spend more on holiday celebration related food and beverages this year, compared with 4 percent loosening the purse strings in 2013 and 3 percent in 2012. Additionally, fewer shoppers are focused on cutting back. Approximately one-quarter of consumers (28 percent) intend to spend less this year than last year, as compared to 33 percent in 2013 and 36 percent in 2012.

Regarding the holiday meal, MarketPulse also revealed the following attitudes:

  • 62 percent will prepare the best meal possible but will work to keep cost down
  • 18 percent view holidays as a time to splurge and will put on the best meal possible
  • 65 percent will buy as many or more gourmet/premium products this year versus last year

These insights certainly indicate many opportunities for marketers to boost sales and enjoy a nice piece of the holiday spending pie. To reap the greatest benefits, marketers will need to communicate value throughout the shopper journey. One essential tactic this year will be getting onto consumers’ shopping lists. List making is key for holiday shopping, and 33 percent of shoppers say they will cut back on unplanned purchases this year.

That said, there is still an opportunity to attract impulse buyers. For example, one-third of consumers say they will leveraging in-store promotions, meaning compelling in-store promotions will be an absolute must for CPG marketers.

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