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Online Holiday Spending Up, But Not As Much As Expected

Amazon: A Great Holiday Buy

However, the season saw just 10 days with more than $1 billion in spending, compared with 12 such days in 2012, likely a reflection of the late Thanksgiving, which compressed the online shopping season. (Credit: ComScore) "In the end, I think we'll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand," Fugoni continued. "While at the same time, consumers weren't willing or able to increase their spending rate to fully compensate for the six-day shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas." And again, this report doesn't factor in purchases made by smartphones and tablets. Amazon on Thursday said that more than half of its customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday season. Update December 27 at 5:18 a.m. PT: Online shopping was a big deal on Christmas Day, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark team. For that one day, when the wrapping paper had only just been ripped off the gifts bought earlier in the season, sales jumped 16.5 percent from a year earlier.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57616293-93/online-holiday-spending-up-but-not-as-much-as-expected/?Media

Holiday sales between November 1 and December 24 rose 2.3 percent, compared with 0.7 percent a year earlier, according to data published in the MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report. This sales growth was the highest in three years. "It was actually a Merry Christmas for retailers," Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters, adding that jewelry was the best-performing category. SpendingPulse tracks customer spending on apparel, electronics, jewelry, luxury and home furniture & furnishings categories during the holiday season. Penney Inc closed up 2.5 percent, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc finished 0.5 percent higher and Target Corp rose 1.2 percent. Analysts have called the 2013 holiday season the most competitive since the recession in 2008, as many Americans battle stagnant wages, higher taxes and the impact from the government shutdown.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/27/us-mastercard-holidaysalesdata-idUSBRE9BP0BP20131227

U.S. Holiday Sales Rise 3.5%, SpendingPulse Says

23. Weekend Sales Holiday purchases increased 2 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 22, Bill Martin , co-founder of ShopperTrak, said in a telephone interview Dec. 23. The firm compiles sales and traffic data from devices in stores and receipt information, primarily from mall-based sellers of general merchandise, apparel, furniture and electronics. While the U.S. economy grew at a surprising 4.1 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, the gain was driven by increased spending on services such as health care and recreation as well as companies boosting software investments.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-26/u-s-holiday-sales-rise-3-5-spendingpulse-says.html

Holiday Retail Sales for 2013 Are Weaker Than They Look

Unhappy customers and concern about ever-narrowing profit margins. Sales of holiday items increased 2.3 percent compared with last year, according to Mastercard ( MA ) data cited by theWall Street Journal.But retailers got there by lowering prices, continuing a reliance on discounts that has had many industry observers nervous since the financial crisis. This takes the luster off what gains were made , says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore ( SCOR ). I think well look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand, he says in a statement. Then there were the shipping problems.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-26/2013-holiday-sales-numbers-are-weaker-than-they-appear

Discounts, promotions spur sales in U.S. holiday season

People walk along 5th Avenue as they shop for bargains the day after Christmas in New York, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri "I've had parents come who say their kids make them stop here on their way home from work or school every day." Holiday Lights Map Guide: How to photograph lights . The display has grown over the past three years, made from toys he picked up at thrift shops and rewired. Then he found programmable light strings. This year, the IT consultant spent about six weeks updating everything and an entire weekend "longer than I thought" putting the display up. While he might be a programming whiz, musical talent isn't required to play it. "Most of the players are probably under 10 years old, so they just get on there and crash around a bit" though he has had a couple in their 30s play a duet and "one gentleman about 50 completely rocking out on the drum set. He actually looked like he knew how to play.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.denverpost.com/homegarden/ci_24803283/holiday-lights-last-weekly-winner-invites-passersby-rock

Holiday Lights: Last weekly winner invites passersby to rock out

An interactive tree in Aurora is strung with light ropes and musical toys; step out and play the music to make the lights move.<!--IPTC: An interactive As the Internet TV space is growing rapidly, Amazon is licensing more video content from studios and content owners. The company's video library surged to more than 41,000 titles, as it competes withNetflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) and Hulu. However, Netflix is still well ahead of Amazon, and also provides a much better user experience. Netflix's global customer count surged to more than 40 million users, and its content library is estimated to be more than 60,000 titles. Most importantly, Prime customers shop a lot more on Amazon's gigantic platform because of the freetwo-day shipping benefit. The spurt in Amazon Prime sign-ups might have been caused by Amazon's increase of its Super Saver shopping minimum. The company retained the $25 minimum shipping rate for 10 years, and recently increased it to $35.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/12/28/amazon-is-still-a-buy.aspx

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