"SpendShift" Author Lays Out Holiday Shopping Trends and Predictions

As the book editor for Small Business Trends, I receive tons of books to review.  Most of them are books about small business in general and don't really apply to market research.  But the other day, I received this email from the publisher that I thought you would enjoy because it gives us insight about what awaits the retail markets as this year's consumers hit the shopping malls and web sites.

Consumers will still spend this Black Friday ($500 billion in fact), says Y&R consumer expert John Gerzema, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Spend Shift.

But look for less mindless spending on gadgets and appliances, and greater luxury goods' performance as shoppers invest in fewer, more mindful items of higher quality.  Key mantras this holiday season are'quality over quantity' and ‘better instead of more.'

  • Brands like ETSY, offering alternatives in ‘handmade Christmas’ gifts including digital and artisinal choices, will be hot this season, as 65% of Americans are more interested in learning new skills since the recession, so they can do more themselves and rely less on others;

  • Look for Zappos.com to win the online shoe retailing war with its celebrated customer service, while brands like Foot Locker decline (down 20% in usage).  Even though Black Friday shoppers are deal-oriented, 72% of American shoppers are now willing to pay more for products/services offered by companies with solid customer service reputations;

  • Premium brands expect a surge, i.e., Burberry up 15% in brand strength; Theory up 59% in usage and Whole Foods up 10% in usage;

  • Mass market mainstays may find decline, i.e., Old Navy (down 15% in usage); Safeway (down 23% in usage), and Nestle (down 17% in usage);

  • Expect Walmart to exceed expectations this Black Friday. Why? In part because 65% of American shoppers are now willing to pay a premium for companies that contribute to their local community -- the success of Wal-Mart’s locally grown food initiative and independent brands is proof.

In addition to SPEND SHIFT, John Gerzema is author of The Brand Bubble, which was named a best business book of the year by Amazon.com and strategy+business. He has appeared on the Fox Business Network, Marketplace and other networks. More details at www.johngerzema.com.