Savvy and Secure Shopping for the Holiday Season

Friday, November 19, 2010

Theresa Payton

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Shopping - Some Statistics About Our Behavior for 2010

Deloitte did a survey about holiday shopping which said more than a third of Americans plan to spend less this year than last year however, there are some other interesting statistics from the survey to pay attention to.

Some statistics from the survey:

Spending:

  • Six out of 10 plan to spend more or the same this holiday season.
  • Almost 73% want to save more money & plan to change the way they shop for the holidays.
  • 36% said they have permanently cut back the amount of money they spend during the holidays.

How we shop - Mobile and online channels gaining influence in holiday shopping:

  • Roughly 72% will research or shop online
  • Almost 17% plan to use their phones while out shopping to look for deals and comparison shop
  • Roughly 12% will use social networks for gift ideas and deals

We are headed into the holiday shopping season! Walmart and Sears started Black Friday sales before Halloween. Which leads me to a sidebar rant, please excuse me,

"Retailers, please celebrate one holiday at a time.  Right now, I want to see turkeys and cornucopia and we should all be reminded this time of year to give thanks for our blessings.  Hold off on the Christmas and Hanukkah until after Thanksgiving!"  That feels better!

Be Savvy & Safe

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner and retailers want to entice you to shop til you drop. Criminals go where the action is so they want to take advantage of the hustle and bustle and trick you into clicking on their bogus deals.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the Monday after Thanksgiving dubbed "Cyber Monday" has officially replaced the day after Thanksgiving as the most popular shopping day for the holidays.

Here are some tips to detect the bogus from the bargain.

1.  Protect:  Before you start your online shopping, make sure you have the latest web browser and update your virus protection. Avoid making purchases if you are using free wireless and you cannot validate the security and privacy of your transaction. Never give payment or personal information via email.

2.  Stick with Names You Know:  It may be tempting to go to sites with enticing deals but stick to sites that have good reputations.

3.  Buyer Protection:  Look for buyer protection services such as the one offered on eBay.  Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you do have a problem.

4.  Bogus Bargain Alert:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  When in doubt, look for ratings of the seller or product.  Also check the Better Business Bureau and the National Fraud Information Center.

5.  Bogus Shipping Alert:  Cybercriminals are very tricky.  They know that this time of year, there is a lot of shipping.  Legitimate companies will NEVER tell you there is a problem with shipping your order and then ask you to give them payment and personal information by clicking on a link.

Swell Deals - Some fun shopping sites to consider:

1.  Local fun:  www.Groupon.com offers huge discounts within a local area.

2.  Black Friday updates & deal tracking:  www.black-friday.net and www.blackfriday.info.  Both sites track sales, deals, store hours, and more. This is a great way to get a sneak preview of the deals for Black Friday.

3.  Facebook and Twitter:  Many of your favorite stores may have a fan page.  Many stores are known to provide exclusive deals to Facebook Fans and Twitter followers.

4.  Cyber Monday ads and deal tracking:  www.CyberMonday.net and www.CyberMonday.fm

5.  Do you have a smartphone?  You may want to try some shopping apps:

  • Black Friday App (free) - deals and sales
  • RedLaser (free) - wave your iPhone with RedLaser on it over a barcode of an item and it will tell you reviews about the item and if you can get a better deal someplace else
  • eBay (free) - track and participate in auctions via your smartphone

Hot Items on Wish Lists This Year

What is on your loved one's list?  Most likely, games and gadgets. Mashable looked at a Hitwise report. 

Hitwise looks at what people are searching and browsing for right now. This is considered a lead indicator of holiday wish lists and holiday shopping lists. Based on their research, here's what to look for:

What's "Hot" - Wish Lists This Year:

1.  iPhone 4, iPad, iPod shuffle and iPod nano

2.  Android phone and Samsung's Tab (an Androd powered tablet)

3.  Microsoft's Xbox "Kinect" the controller free interactive gaming system (pricing starting at $150)

Sources:

"Deloitte 25th Annual Holiday Survey: Spending Intentions Improve Despite Consumers’ Chilly Outlook", Alison Paul & Carl Steidtmann, October 28, 2010.

"Top Ten Cyber Monday Tips for Staying Safe When Shopping Online", Better Business Bureau, November 15, 2010.

"2010 Holiday Shopping Predictions:  Gadgets, Games and Software", Jolie O'Dell, www.Mashable.com, October 2010.

"Black Friday 2010:  Year of the Shopping App", Jonny Evans, Computerworld, November 17, 2010.

Cross-posted from Fortalice

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Kendra Welch No wonder that more people are into shopping spree during holiday season. Online shopping or even bargaining can be the coolest thing to do when holiday strikes. Extreme couponing is the best shopping deals that most shoppers are into lately. Only one percent of those surveyed said they would walk out on a date if he or she tried to use a coupon. Another three present said they would speak up and express their disapproval, but would remain on the date. Twelve percent said they would keep quiet and finish the evening, but that it would be a last date with the coupon user. Article source: http://personalmoneynetwork.com/moneyblog/2011/09/15/coupon-clipping-dark-side/
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