Economy

Department, Discount Stores Top Christmas Shopping Spots

Likelihood to shop online up this year, reaching highest point to date

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds that department and discount stores are the two main places at which Americans say they are likely to shop for Christmas gifts this year. The likelihood that Americans will shop at these types of stores is slightly higher now than it was in 2004. Nearly half of Americans say they are likely to shop online for presents this year -- marking the highest percentage to say this at any time over the past decade. Younger Americans are substantially more likely than older Americans to say they will use the Internet to shop for Christmas gifts, as are those residing in higher-income households compared with those in lower-income households.

Where Americans Plan to Shop for Christmas Presents

The Nov. 2-4, 2007, poll finds 83% of Americans saying it is "very" or "somewhat" likely that they will shop at department stores for Christmas gifts this year, and 77% saying they are likely to shop at discount stores. Department and discount stores have ranked ahead of the other types of retailers in previous Gallup polling; however, the percentages of Americans saying they plan to shop at each are up slightly this year compared with 2004 (from 77% to 83% for department stores and from 72% to 77% for discount stores).

Fifty-seven percent of Americans say it is very or somewhat likely that they will shop for Christmas gifts at specialty stores, such as those that sell only toys, or clothes, or jewelry, while 49% say they are likely to use the Internet, and 36% mail-order catalogues.

How likely are you to use the following to do your Christmas shopping this year -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?


2007 Nov 2-4
(sorted by “very/somewhat likely”)

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Very/
Somewhat
likely

 

%

%

%

Department stores

53

30

83

Discount stores

45

32

77

Specialty stores

34

23

57

Online shopping on the Internet

28

21

49

Mail-order catalogues

14

22

36

The Trends

There has been a sharp increase in intentions to use the Internet for Christmas shopping over the past decade. The percentage of Americans who say they are likely to shop online has increased from 10% in 1998 to 49% now, with the biggest jump in planned Internet shopping (19 percentage points) seen between the 2004 and 2007 surveys.

Somewhat higher proportions of Americans say they will shop for gifts at the various shopping destinations than did so in 2004, but in that poll, intentions to shop at all types of retailers were on the low end of what Gallup has measured since 1993. Plans to shop at department stores, discount stores, and mail-order catalogues are similar to what Gallup measured at the beginning of this decade. The reported likelihood of shopping at specialty stores has shown little if any improvement since 2004, and remains on the lower end of what Gallup has measured historically.

Full Trend: Christmas Shopping Plans
(percentage saying "very" or "somewhat" likely)

 

Department
stores

Discount
stores

Specialty
stores

Mail-order
catalogues

 

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

83

77

57

36

2004 Dec 5-8

77

72

55

28

2002 Nov 22-24

84

72

61

30

2000 Nov 13-15

87

75

64

34

1999 Nov 18-21

91

79

70

45

1998 Dec 4-6

87

80

65

35

1993 Dec 4-6

84

82

53

34

Americans’ holiday shopping plans vary according to household income level.

Those residing in upper-income households (earning at least $75,000 per year) are substantially more likely than those in the lower household income categories to say they plan to use the Internet or mail-order catalogues to shop for gifts, or to go to specialty stores this year.

By comparison, those earning less than $75,000 per year are more inclined than those in higher-income households to shop at discount stores; still, solid majorities of all three groups say they plan to shop at discount stores for Christmas presents this season.

Christmas Shopping Plans, by Household Income
percentage saying "very" or "somewhat" likely
Nov. 2-4, 2007

 

<$30,000
per year

$30,000 to
<$75,000
per year


$75,000 or
more per year

 

%

%

%

Discount stores

80

81

70

Department stores

76

84

86

Specialty stores

45

58

70

Mail-order catalogues

28

33

48

Online shopping on the Internet

20

49

72

Department and discount stores are the most popular places for people of any age to shop for Christmas gifts. Younger Americans (aged 18 to 34) are much more likely than older Americans to say they plan to shop at department stores, while all three groups are about equally likely to have plans to shop at discount stores. Adults younger than 55 are more likely than older adults to say they will shop at specialty stores and on the Internet. Those aged 35 and older are more inclined than 18- to 34-year-olds to affirm that they are likely to shop in mail-order catalogues.

Christmas Shopping Plans, by Age
percentage saying "very" or "somewhat" likely
Nov. 2-4, 2007

 

18 to 34

35 to 54

55+

 

%

%

%

Department stores

91

82

77

Discount stores

75

81

72

Specialty stores

70

63

41

Online shopping on the Internet

65

57

26

Mail-order catalogues

25

44

36

The most significant difference among the three age groups involves the likelihood of shopping online for presents. The percentage saying they are likely to use the Internet to shop for presents this year is at the highest point to date among all three age groups. However, since 2004, there has been only an eight-point increase in expressed intentions to use the Internet among those aged 55 and older, while there has been more than a 20-point increase among those in the younger age groups.


Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,024 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 2-4, 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

43. How likely are you to use the following to do your Christmas shopping this year -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Mail-order catalogues

 

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

14

22

20

42

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Dec 5-8

10

18

15

57

*

2002 Nov 22-24

13

17

16

53

1

2000 Nov 13-15

12

22

20

46

*

1999 Nov 18-21 ^

17

28

17

38

*

1998 Dec 4-6 ^

14

21

15

50

*

1993 Dec 4-6 ^

13

21

17

49

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Less than 0.5%

^ WORDING: Catalogues

B. Discount stores

 

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

45

32

9

13

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Dec 5-8

40

32

11

16

1

2002 Nov 22-24

41

31

11

16

1

2000 Nov 13-15

42

33

12

13

*

1999 Nov 18-21

45

34

11

10

*

1998 Dec 4-6

48

32

9

11

*

1993 Dec 4-6

51

31

9

8

1

* Less than 0.5%

C. Department stores

 

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

53

30

6

11

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Dec 5-8

48

29

7

16

*

2002 Nov 22-24

52

32

7

8

1

2000 Nov 13-15

58

29

6

7

*

1999 Nov 18-21

60

31

5

4

*

1998 Dec 4-6

60

27

6

6

1

1993 Dec 4-6

51

33

7

8

1

* Less than 0.5%

D. Specialty stores, such as stores that sell only toys, or clothes, or jewelry, for example

 

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

34

23

17

24

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Dec 5-8

27

28

16

28

1

2002 Nov 22-24

35

26

14

24

1

2000 Nov 13-15

36

28

16

19

1

1999 Nov 18-21

37

33

11

19

*

1998 Dec 4-6

37

28

14

20

1

1993 Dec 4-6

24

29

21

25

1

* Less than 0.5%

  E. Online shopping on the Internet

 

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2007 Nov 2-4

28

21

13

38

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Dec 5-8

17

13

10

59

1

2002 Nov 22-24

15

14

12

58

1

2000 Nov 13-15

9

12

14

65

*

1999 Nov 18-21

8

11

14

67

*

1998 Dec 4-6

4

6

7

82

1

* Less than 0.5%

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/102670/Department-Discount-Stores-Top-Christmas-Shopping-Spots.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030