Thinking About Giving Socks This Holiday Season?

Thinking About Giving Socks This Holiday Season? Try a Home Entertainment …

Thinking About Giving Socks This Holiday Season? Try a Home
Entertainment System Instead, Says Consumer Reports ; Consumer
Reports Holiday Shopping Poll Reveals How Americans Plan to Shop
for the 2006 Holidays
To: National Desk
Contact: Rachel Levy Konik of The Rosen Group,
212-255-8455 ext. 35 or RachelK(At),
Lauren Hackett of Consumer Reports,
914-378-2561 or LHackett(At)

YONKERS, N.Y., Oct. 26 /U.S. Newswire/ What's in your
wallet? If you're like many Americans, chances are good it's an
unused gift card. Over half (54 percent) of respondents to a new
Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll said they received gift
cards last year, yet nearly a year later, 19 percent, or an
estimated 23.3 million Americans have not used them. Why not?
Among the reasons: gift cards were lost or expired cards, which
should make gift-givers think twice.

The Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll found that despite
the abundance of unused gift cards, they are a major component of
holiday giving. Close to two-thirds (60 percent) of Americans
plan to purchase gift cards this holiday season.

"Our findings reinforce that consumers should think twice
about giving gift cards this holiday season," said Tod Marks,
senior editor, Consumer Reports. "While gift cards can be an
easy way for someone to get the 'perfect gift,' recipients often
have to deal with expiration dates, maintenance or dormancy

The Reports Holiday Shopping Poll also finds:

Holiday Shopping Has Begun

As of October 15, almost one-third (29 percent) of
Americans have gotten a jump start on their holiday shopping.

Nearly half (49 percent) anticipate that they will have
completed their shopping by the second week of December. By
December 23, 22 percent of respondents said they still won't be
done with their shopping with about 6 percent not completing
their lists until after Christmas.

Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers!

Most (71 percent) of American consumers intend to buy their
gifts for the 2006 holidays at discount mass merchandisers, like
Wal-Mart or Target. Department stores come in second place with
62 percent while 52 percent of American shoppers this season will
buy from independent retailers.

Only two categories of retailers, discount mass
merchandisers and online, will see appreciable increases in gift
buying this year. The biggest declines will be seen in department
stores and outlets.

Are You Safe Shopping Online?

Thirty-nine percent of Americans plan on purchasing their
gifts online this year, a number driven by 18-34 year olds, of
whom 50 percent said they will do their shopping online.

Of those who plan on purchasing their gifts online, the
majority (72 percent) are concerned about the security of their
financial or personal information.

Most (86 percent) of those expressing concern have taken
precautions to protect themselves. Among those, more than 80
percent have taken the basic precautions of securing passwords,
using sites with secure connections, only shopping at well known
sites, and printing and saving online receipts. But, only 64
percent make sure to always use the same credit card for online

What (Not) to Put on Your List

The number one gift category consumers are planning to buy
for the 2006 holiday season is clothing (73 percent) followed by
gift cards (60 percent), toys (54 percent) and electronics (53
percent). Within the electronics category, video game systems
(21 percent), home video entertainment systems (20 percent), mp3
players including iPods (19 percent), and digital cameras (18
percent) are the leading choices.

Make your list, but check it twice. The most desired gift
category among men is electronics (21 percent), and among women,
gift cards (16 percent) are top, followed by jewelry (12

Buyer beware. In 2005, clothing was the most disappointing
category of gifts received (36 percent) the biggest offender
was socks (11 percent).

Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll Methodology

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a
telephone survey of a nationally representative probability
sample of telephone households. One thousand interviews were
completed among adults aged 18-plus. Interviewing took place over
October 12-15, 2006. The margin of error is plus/minus 3 percent
points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Consumers Union 2006. The material above is intended for
legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial
or promotional purposes. Consumers Union is an independent,
nonprofit testing, and information organization whose mission is
to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers
and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this
mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our
independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no outside
advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than
the interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself
through the sale of our information products and services,
individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.

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