The affiliate program support team at Target has tweeted:
So I’ve decided to dig deeper into it.
Target seems to refer to the National Retail Federation’s data quoted by Reuters. On Wednesday (December 16, 2009) in their U.S. consumers fall behind in holiday shopping article Reuters reported:
Consumers on average had completed 46.7 percent of their holiday shopping by the second week of December… That is down from the 47.1 percent completed by this time last year and marks the lowest percentage completed since 2004. The NRF still expects total holiday season sales to fall 1 percent this year, an unprecedented drop for two straight years since a financial markets crisis erupted in late 2008.
…According to the NRF survey, nearly 42 million people, or 19.1 percent of shoppers, had not even started their shopping as of late last week, while 8.6 percent of shoppers have completely finished [underlining mine].
It is important to stress that the “late last week” should be counted from the date of the publication backwards. So, they’re not talking about the week of 13-19 December, but rather the week of 6-12 December 2009. This is also clear from the closing remarks of that Reuters article:
The NRF survey found that 11.9 percent of shoppers said they would buy their last gift on December 24, while 35 percent said they planned to finish their list by December 19.
The survey polled 9,929 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch December 1 through December 9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent [italics mine].
So, the majority of shoppers were planning on finishing that Christmas shopping list by December 19. But alas… The snow got in the way!
After the record-breaking amounts of snow covered states from the mid-Atlantic to New England [see the NASA’s satellite shot of it], The Seattle Times wrote about the ecommerce impact of the meteorologic situation we’ve had (or are still having):
The snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast, closing malls and snowing in shoppers, spelled trouble for retailers, but elsewhere in the country stores saw a strong turnout on the last weekend before Christmas.
Eager to win business from snowed-in easterners, retail Web sites including Macy’s and J.C. Penney offered free express shipping Sunday. Traffic to retail Web sites spiked all weekend. Elsewhere, crowds looking for discounts found some, but far less than the 60 to 70 percent off sales they wanted… [more | underlining mine]
And the snowed-in consumers did take advantage of the offers, and ordered stuff. The good news is that don’t look to be finished yet.
Earlier this morning Bloomberg wrote:
Last-minute shopping in the days leading up to Christmas may make up for lost weekend sales on the U.S. East Coast after record snowfalls shut stores early and kept shoppers at home… Some retailers may extend promotions into Monday and Tuesday to attract shoppers they had hoped to get during the last weekend before Christmas…
Historically, the 10 days before Christmas have made up 40 percent of total holiday sales for November and December, according to Joseph Feldman, a managing director at Telsey Advisory Group in New York. The Washington-based National Retail Federation said last week that consumers had completed less than half of their holiday shopping, the lowest level since 2004, according to a survey by BIGresearch.
Honestly, I thought this data was the last piece of encouraging (and unexpected) news we’d receive this Q4. Now, with the snow and its above-described effect on the 2009 holiday shopping, affiliates and merchants — provided they are being aggressive/attractive with their offers (example: Free Next Day Shipping from DaySpring), and are targeting wisely — should definitely expect more orders from holiday-oriented shoppers.