Monday, October 23, 2006

"Hot:" Gas Prices Down, So: Ready, Set, Shop!

58.7% agree that early holiday shopping is what’s hot this month.

Consumers contending they've become more practical in purchasing rises from 39.7% in September to 43.3%. Headed into holiday '05, though, 50.1% cited practicality, so they may be willing to pay more to retailers this year

FOX’s House, the baseball playoffs, and ubiquitous TV personality Rachael Ray also rate high among consumers, while fantasy football scores with men and Dancing With the Stars sweeps women off their feet.

Joe Pilotta, VP of Research for BIGResearch:

"... greater confidence in the economy... usually translates into greater spending for the holidays. Consumer expectations are the basis for action, lower price, more cash and greater spending."

The impact of gas prices are also lower as more consumers are saying fluctuating gas prices are having no major impact on their spending, 29.3% versus 24.4% last month. And, consumers are also anticipating lower pump prices at Thanksgiving than they previously expected in September. They anticipate the price of a gallon of gas will be $2.55 by Thanksgiving, which is almost $0.30 less than last month when they anticipated the price to be $2.84 a gallon.

Retailers, it looks like consumers are gearing up to spend some good cheer…the 90 Day Outlook continues to brighten in October from last month and last year, according to the BIGresearch Diffusion index (those who say they’ll spend less subtracted from those who’ll spend more). While Lawn & Garden took its seasonal tumble, all other categories improved:

Those of us hoping for a little something sparkly in our stockings may get our wish this year…6.2% intend to purchase jewelry in the next six months, up from 4.5% last year. Major purchase intentions also improve year-over-year for auto, computer, furniture, home appliances, house, major home improvement, stereo equipment, TV, digital camera, and vacation travel. DVD/VCR up slightly.

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