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What Can Retailers Expect from Holiday Shoppers?
Survey shows they're looking for value and kids' gifts but might get caught short on time

CLEVELAND, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey announced today by Forest City Enterprises, Inc. finds that holiday shoppers will be driven more than ever by value this year and that they expect to shift even more of their spending toward children.  Yet most shoppers aren't aware that they have almost a week less than last year to get it all done.

Reflecting the apparent shift toward value shopping, nearly a quarter of shoppers (23.0 percent) say they expect to spend more on "value brands" this year than last. That compares with 13.9 percent who expect to spend more on "mid-price" brands and 12.6 percent who expect to spend more on "luxury brands."

In contrast, almost a third (32.3 percent) expect to spend less on luxury brands, while 11.6 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively, expect to rein in their spending on mid-price and value brands.

"Whether it's a sign of tight economic times or more wishful and persuasive children, close to one-third of shoppers also plan to spend more on children's categories this year," said Jane Lisy, SVP Marketing.  "What your children want takes priority over your personal wishes."

Shoppers say they expect to spend more on children's apparel (32.7 percent), accessories (28.7 percent) and toys (26.7 percent) – this year.  Meanwhile, they'll be trimming spending on fine jewelry (38.7 percent), mobile phones (38.3 percent) and holiday decor (33.5 percent).

"Perhaps most surprisingly," said Lisy, "the survey pointed out that almost two-thirds of shoppers might get caught short because they weren't aware that there are six fewer holiday shopping days this year!"

However, about half (49.4 percent) of shoppers say they won't be shopping in-store on Thanksgiving Day while just over a fourth (27.4 percent) say they plan to do so.  Nevertheless, the remaining "not sure" group leaves open the potential for in-store traffic on the holiday to be as much as 10 percent higher this year.

The survey also suggests that holiday shoppers prefer a shopping center over online shopping and that they have strongly integrated digital, social and mobile tools into their in-store shopping experience.

Spending expectations are in line with last year, when in-store shopping accounted for 70 percent of the shoppers' holiday spending.  The average in-store expenditure is expected to increase by 1 percent to about $774, while the average online expenditure is expected to decrease by 0.3 percent to $330.

And with the ubiquitous presence of digital, social and mobile tools, 91.3 percent of shoppers said they will use one of these tools from this year – up slightly from last year.  The biggest jump is among those who plan to use a mobile app for price research – 26.2 percent this year, compared with 19.3 percent last year.

Among other survey results:

  • The majority of shoppers say the traditional weekday shopping hours (10 a.m.9 p.m.) are the most convenient for them, and extended hours on Friday and Sunday nights have the most appeal.
  • What gifts do holiday shoppers want for themselves? Coat/jacket, clothes, iPad, jewelry and shoes top the list.
  • About four out of 10 shoppers purchased a mall gift card in 2012 and plan to do so again this year.

For more about the survey, visit #HolidayShopping.

Alexander Babbage, a leading strategic consumer research firm, conducted the online survey among shoppers representing Forest City centers nationwide.  Altogether, more than 10,000 shoppers provided input on their holiday shopping plans and preferences.  With 10,671 completed responses, the margin of error for the study is +/-0.9 percent.

About Forest City

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is a NYSE-listed national real estate company with $10.7 billion in total assets. The company is principally engaged in the ownership, development, management and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate and land throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About Alexander Babbage

Alexander Babbage is the leader in Integrated Customer Insights – a proprietary approach to combining consumer research, trade area information and big data to grow revenue, profit and shopper loyalty.  Babbage takes an integrated approach to organizing information which helps drive agreement among the different lines of business.  This approach enables our clients clearly understand which specific actions to take, and the order in which to take them, to drive the business forward.    

With more than 30-years' experience understanding the shopper and how to maximize their impact, Alexander Babbage is the first choice for clients who want to grow their business.  We work with clients throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean across multiple formats including retail, shopping centers, major league sports, restaurants, healthcare, banking and arts and entertainment.


SOURCE Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

Lindsey Cottone, Forest City, (216) 416-3435, or Kurt Eyman, Dix & Eaton, (216) 241-3020,

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