By Paul Carton
Overall consumer spending is holding steady, even as we've picked up major improvements in holiday spending for the 2009 season.
In short, overall consumer spending is virtually the same as in our previous ChangeWave survey. But holiday spending is extraordinarily better than a year ago (November 2008), when just 10% of respondents said they'd be spending more and 59% less.
Importantly, the survey of 2,954 U.S. consumers, completed November 10th, shows holiday spending is going to be far better than the depressed levels of a year ago – though nowhere near as strong as in the three years prior to the recession, as the following chart points out:
A total of 9% say they'll be Spending More Money on holiday shopping this season while 32% say they'll Spend Less – but that's a huge 21-pt improvement over November 2008 (when only 4% said they'd Spend More vs. 48% Less).
Our survey shows a big uptick for a handful of major retailers – led by blowout numbers for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Holiday Spending Among Online Retailers - It's an Amazon Holiday Season
In terms of online shopping, we're clearly witnessing a historic blowout for Amazon this holiday season. Not only is Amazon showing the most momentum among all online retailers, but its huge 8-pt jump since August represents the largest improvement ever recorded in online spending in a ChangeWave survey.
Amazon Also Leads Holiday Spending Among Home Entertainment Retailers
Amazon is also the overall momentum leader in terms of home entertainment shopping.
Nearly one-in-three respondents (31%) now say they'll shop there for home entertainment and computer networking products over the next 90 days – a 3-pt jump since October to the highest level for Amazon in more than 3 years.
The major discounters and wholesale clubs – including Costco (COST; 26%; up 2-pts), Wal-Mart (WMT; 19%; up 2-pts), Sam's Club (11%; up 2-pts) and Target (TGT; 7%; up 1-pt) – are also showing upticks in home entertainment shopping for the holidays.
While industry leader Best Buy (BBY; 42%) is unchanged in market share since our previous survey, it does stand to benefit from the big increase in overall gift shopping this holiday season compared to last.
Biggest Retail Store Winners - Discounters and Wholesale Clubs
Turning to overall holiday shopping trends, our latest results again show the discount retailers and wholesale clubs are the huge winners this November, led by Costco (+4) which looks best positioned to outperform going forward.
Target (+3), Wal-Mart (+3), and its Sam's Club (+2) subsidiary have also experienced a sharp pickup in momentum.
Note that Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBBY; +2) also picked up 2 point since the previous survey.
A rising tide is lifting all boats, and we're also seeing a slight uptick among some of the major department stores, including Macy's (M; +1), Bloomingdale's (+1), JC Penney (JCP; +1) and Sears (SHLD; +1).
As normally seen during the holidays, Consumer Electronics spending now shows the greatest momentum going forward – with 26% saying they'll spend more on consumer electronics over the next 90 days and 32% less.
This represents a net 10-pt jump from a month ago and a huge 18-pt improvement over the holiday season of a year ago.
In terms of individual items, the Apple iPod (8%; up 3-pts) and the Amazon Kindle eReader (4%; up 1-pt) both show significant momentum compared to the previous survey and to a year ago. Digital Cameras (14%; up 4-pts) are also up since the previous survey, but are down slightly compared to last holiday season.
Jean Crumrine co-wrote this article.
Disclosure: No positions