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Trends for this holiday season

Trends for this holiday season

The National Retail Federation (NRF) runs an annual survey around the holiday season, and the results can help store owners of all sorts prepare for what may be the busiest time of year. The 2012 survey statistics show some interesting and surprising trends for the next few weeks. Here’s a roundup of the findings.

Discounts are king

Though there have been some improvements in the economy in recent months, the survey finds that customers this year are still focused on being frugal.

“More than half of Americans this holiday season will feel the impact of the economy and will compensate by doing what they’ve been doing for several years – looking for ways to cut any corners, comparative shop online and in stores more often, and even planning to travel less or not at all,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “As the most promotional time of the year, retailers will continue to look for ways to stand out, specifically with attractive deals on toys, electronics and apparel, even well before the ‘official’ start of the holiday season – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

For merchants, this means an effective way to draw in customers is to advertise any discounts and promotions you have going on. Store signs touting the deals you’re offering will get customers’ attention, and once inside, they may even opt to shell out more cash for some full-priced items, provided you offer appealing display cases and tables.

Self-gifting and gift cards are popular

This year, it seems that shoppers are a little more willing to treat themselves to some holiday goods. According to the study, 59 percent of shoppers will spend an average of $139.92 on themselves. Retailers may want to take advantage of this by labeling some items on their jewelry racks or display table as “Presents for yourself!”

Gift cards also seem to be quite popular this year. According to the study, six out of 10 shoppers say they’d like to receive a gift card to a store they frequent. Merchants can take care of this by peppering their store with such cards. Tuck a few into the sweater pockets on your adult and child mannequins, or lay out an array of cards by the register. Remind employees to offer these cards to shoppers who are having a hard time making up their minds when browsing the goods.