NPD Releases Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends Report For The Week Ending January 2, 2012

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Visits and spending slow but conversion holds.

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

While this is not unexpected or surprising, it remains one of the greatest challenges of retail, how to sustain the interest and momentum of the holiday season after Christmas?

For the week ending January 2, 2012 The Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends* report from leading market research provider The NPD Group, Inc., shows a decrease in the number of shoppers^ in the market. Sixty-six percent of U.S. consumers went shopping in a brick & mortar retail outlet compared to sixty-nine percent the prior week.

This week’s results show that overall brick & mortar shopping visits decreased by 9 percent compared to the prior week, which included Christmas weekend. This week Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report shows that shopping visits to grocery stores decreased for the second straight week, which brings this channel to the lowest levels since the weekly tracking began in August 2011.

Shopping visits to grocery stores were down 2 percent from the prior week and down 17 percent from the average of the prior weeks. Other channels posting week-over-week declines include: specialty beauty (-23 percent), specialty footwear (-13 percent), off-price stores (-13 percent), national chains (-11 percent), department stores (-9 percent), factory outlets (-9 percent), mass merchants (-9 percent), and specialty apparel (-7 percent).

As overall visits declined so did the average amount spent per buying visit. The average amount spent was down 6 percent from the prior week. This is a significant week-over-week decrease which brings the average amount spent per buying visit down to pre-Black Friday levels.

“While this is not unexpected or surprising, it remains one of the greatest challenges of retail, how to sustain the interest and momentum of the holiday season after Christmas.” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc., “For the post-holiday shopping season this year we have seen less inventory to give away, the season was front-loaded self-gifting. And most important, a lack of new-ness haunts holiday again. There were so few key items odds are you got it and didn’t need to go out to shop for it after Christmas.”

Despite the declines in shopping visits, brick & mortar shopping conversion rates remained stable at 67.9 percent.

SEE CHART: Brick & Mortar Shopping Conversion Rate Weeks Ending Dec. 5 – January 2, 2012

Additionally, there were some channels that saw their individual shopping conversion rates increase this week over last. Those channels are: department stores, up this week to 47 percent from 45 percent the prior week, national chains, up this week to 56 percent from 54 percent the prior week, and warehouse clubs, up this week to 85 percent from 82 percent the prior week.

For the week ending January 2, 2011 online shopping activity continued to post a decline. Online share of buying visits declined to 11.7 percent, down from 13.9 percent the prior week, bringing online share of buying visits back to pre-holiday levels.

SEE CHART: Online Share of Buying Visits Weeks Ending Dec. 5 – January 2, 2012

“What retailers and brands need to do now is move into ‘product mode’ not just stay in ‘price mode.’ Product needs to become the focus of businesses sooner rather than later because in order to get growth there needs to be something really new and different to capture consumers’ dollars,” said Cohen. “Consumers did show us they shop for deals BUT they also showed us they would purchase new products that are relevant. So as the deals are waning new products need to emerge. Profit margins can't afford a full-time discount program…selling at full price and building margin is where these exciting, new and relevant products come in.”

*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.

Beth Boyle
The NPD Group, Inc.


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