NPD Releases Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends Report For The Week Ending December 19, 2011

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General Merchandise Retailers Are Seeing An Uptick in Activity and Conversion.

Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

"The retailers getting the interest of shoppers are in the 'hot item' business."

For the week ending December 19, 2011, The Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends* report from leading market research provider The NPD Group, Inc. again, shows a slight increase in the number of shoppers^ in the market. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. consumers went shopping at brick & mortar retail compared to 67 percent the prior week. As is usually the case, the retail channels in which consumers shopped most were grocery and drug stores; there was also an increase in shopping activity in general merchandise retailers.

The general merchandise stores that saw some of the greatest increases in shopping activity are the sporting goods channel, with shopping visits up 34 percent since last week, book stores, up 28 percent from last week, shoe chain stores, up 28 percent and footwear specialty stores, up 19 percent since last week.

“The retailers getting the interest of shoppers are the ones that are in this season’s ‘hot item’ business,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Footwear, not thought of as a traditional holiday gift is building a trend of becoming a gift item for holiday. Think shearling boots. The increase in sporting goods stores suggests that sporting goods as lifestyle gifts are doing well. And we see that book sellers are doing well pointing to the consumer’s adoption of e-readers and tablets as a device reading and therefore gifting.”

There has also been a slight increase in the brick & mortar shopping conversion rate this week.

See Chart: Brick & Mortar Shopping Conversion Rate - Weeks Ending Nov. 28 – Dec 19, 2011

The channels that had sizeable increases in their conversion rates since last week are: specialty footwear (+10 points), office supply stores (+9 points), home specialty stores (+8 points), sporting goods stores (+6 points), book stores (+5 points), and specialty apparel (+4 points).

“This is the second best week for brick & mortar conversion since we began tracking it for the holiday season,” said Cohen “It’s a good sign that even during the latter part of the shopping lull consumers are back in the stores and buying again.”

Overall, Consumers have decreased their shopping activity online this week. Online share of buying visits have a 16.4 percent share down one point from last week’s 17.4 percent.

See Chart: Online Share of Buying Visits- Weeks Ending Nov. 28 – Dec. 19, 2011

However, there are some individual channels that are bucking the trend and increasing their online share.
Electronics stores online share up is up 3 percentage points, and toys stores online share is up 1 percentage point for this most recently concluded week.

“Brick & mortar shopping is expected to have a strong finish and be even stronger post-holiday period,” said Cohen, “Consumers are seeking the deal all season, and the deals are just now starting to shape up for some more dramatic discounts without the crazy hours to get them. The only issue will be…they won’t be the ‘pick of the litter,’ as retailers are already showing signs of broken stock on selected styles.”

*The Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends is special report from The NPD Group, Inc.’s Shopping Activity Service. The Shopper Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report will follow the weekly holiday shopping trends over the course of the 2011 holiday retail season and will be released weekly. Shopping Activity Services is a study fielded to 4,750 U.S. consumers daily. It captures brick and mortar shopping behavior and online purchase behavior in categories from Apparel to Entertainment to Groceries to Video Games. In response to demand for more granular data this report has been enhanced as of November 7, 2011 data has been restated to reflect that enhancement. The result is a shift in the actual values however the directionality of the results remains in-tact.

^Shoppers include those consumers shopping in channels including grocery stores and drug stores.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit, or follow us Twitter at and Become a fan of Marshal Cohen at and watch more on NPD’s YouTube channel.


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Beth Boyle
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