Americans are still struggling with a weak economy and high unemployment, while Canadians are focused on paying down debt and adjusting to new taxes. But Christmas has been commercialized to such an extent that there’s no way that tradition of people going into debt to purchase gifts is going to disappear anytime soon. Gallup reported November 15 poll results that pointed to the average American household spending 12.9 percent more on Christmas gifts this year than last.
Cash and Carry Christmas
According to a survey from the United Services Automobile Association, which provides insurance to military members and their families, about 90 percent of Americans plan to use cash for their holiday gifts this year. Only 8 percent said they would charge more to their credit cards, while 35 percent said they would use more cash this year than last. The top reasons for using cash were avoiding debt and staying within a budget.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Wedged between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving has slowly given way to Black Friday as the day after Thanksgiving has long been the most lucrative shopping day of all. An aggressive Internet and retail campaign drove the date to the spotlight in 2006. Before then, the last weekend before Christmas was usually when the most shopping activity was seen.
As many as 138 million shoppers are expected to hit stores on this Black Friday weekend, 4 million more than last year and the most since the National Retail Federation survey began compiling the data in 2006. — Even With the Web, Black Friday Rules
Welcome to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday? While not as famous as Black Friday, retailers just a few years ago invented Cyber Monday as a way to create buzz around online shopping. Cyber Monday is actually a marketing ploy and other shopping days leading up to Christmas are even bigger. — Cyber Monday: Myth and Reality
Holiday shopping online
Holiday shopping online has been steadily growing in recent years. Many people will start their holiday shopping when they sit down in front of their office computers. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have traditionally been American events but in recent years the trend has begun to catch on in Canada. More shoppers in both countries are turning to the internet to research products and to compare prices, even if they end up making their purchase in a physical store.
A recent survey by Ipsos Reid, commissioned by PayPal, found that 54 per cent of Canadians plan to do their holiday shopping online this year. That figure jumps to 74 per cent among Canadians 18 to 34 years of age. The PayPal survey also found that Canadians plan to spend 11 hours holiday shopping. With a portion of that potentially happening online, businesses north of the border are certainly aware of the risk of cyber attack, said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing at PayPal in Canada. — Keep up those defenses for Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Shopping on Company Time
Productivity is clearly an important matter for businesses. Typically, enterprises suffer productivity losses during key events throughout the year. Holidays seem to elicit a large decrease in productivity. As employees use the Internet for activities such as shopping, social networking and web surfing, the security threats increase.
The average employee spends 14.4 hours of online shopping in the workplace over a span of two days and the trend is causing security nightmares, according to a recent survey. Among those polled, the mean amount of time employees planned to spend shopping online was14.4 hours, One in 10 plans to spend at least 30 hours shopping online at work. Most planned to do their shopping in early to mid-December.
“The potential danger of shopping online is that it can open the door to viruses, spam and phishing attacks that invade the workplace and cost enterprises thousands per employee in lost productivity and potentially millions in destruction or compromise of corporate data,” ISACA officials said in a statement on the findings. — Shopping on the Job
Do You Need a Virtual Wallet This Holiday Season?
Tens of millions of people use a virtual wallet as an alternative form of online payment — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks involved. Here’s what you need to know this holiday season.
Will you be holiday shopping online at work?