Tag Archives: gifts

Twelve (or more) Days of Christmas

We all know the song Twelve Days of Christmas, which tells the length of the holiday season. However, marketers have made Black Friday synonymous with “once in a lifetime deals,” leading shoppers to line up outside of stores as soon as their plates are cleared from the Thanksgiving table. From year to year retailers have the urge to top last year’s sales which have resulted in an extended holiday season. The actual start of the holiday season has been blurred by retail initiatives and marketing campaigns. This extension is causing a major ruckus in the retail and marketing landscape and is having an effect on sales and consumers’ shopping behavior.

Formerly, people travelled from near and far to hunt down the best deals the day after Thanksgiving, however now “Pre-Black Friday” and “Christmas Preview” sales are occurring shortly after Halloween. Some stores are opened on Thanksgiving day for holiday shoppers. This shows that Thanksgiving  has been ignored and marketers focus on holidays that include gift giving, numerous parties, and clothing needs. However, with the extension of the season stores are seeing less foot traffic on Black Friday and the sales are decreasing. According to RetailNext, Black Friday net sales in store have been declining. Sales dropped 1.6% last year as compared to 2014, and declined 14.1% in 2014 from the previous year. Traffic also took a dip, dropping 1.8% in 2015 versus the previous year, and 16% in 2014 as compared to 2013. The money that retailers spend on extra manpower for Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping is losing its value. According to USA Today, nearly two-thirds of consumers stated that they began Christmas shopping before Black Friday. It is no question why Black Friday is losing some of its previous allure. However, the most immediate factor that is impacting Black Friday is online shopping.

In 2005,  Cyber Monday was introduced to pair the same shopping frenzy as Black Friday but instead on-line. Cyber Monday was not that popular in its year of inception but now has surpassed Black Friday. This year Cyber Monday sales numbers exceeded expectation reaching $3.34 billion, with nearly a third of all sales transactions taking place on a mobile device. Cyber Monday was also not excluded from the same extended holiday shopping practices set in place for Black Friday. Cyber Monday has been transformed into Cyber Week. Black Friday was traditional in-store only deals, but this has transferred into an online effort that bridges through to Cyber Monday and the rest of the week following Thanksgiving. Also, online shopping is made easier as users have access to shop on mobile applications and use mobile wallet features to get the best deals. Although holiday shopping is not over yet, we can safely predict that online shopping is going to continue to thrive throughout the remainder of the season.

Online shopping has created serious competition for Black Friday, but so has another contender – Super Saturday. The Saturday before Christmas is for all the holiday shopping procrastinators and the last-minute forgotten gift givers. Most of the time these shoppers have no time to order items online, they need gifts right away. Super Saturday has assumed the title of the busiest shopping day of the year in 2014 and 2015, surpassing Black Friday. With Christmas Eve on a Saturday this year, we will see is upheld this year.

In sum, those Twelve Days of Christmas that we are familiar with are only in song. The holiday shopping season is closer to 30 days or even 40 days since marketers are in a race to capture consumers early. Online sales have spiked over the past ten years and as technology advances we expected this to grow. With some retailers such as Amazon moving to faster shipping methods and pitching ideas such as drone delivery, online sales could stay on the rise. The holiday shopping season has gotten increasingly longer over the last few years and it seems that trend is here to stay.

Our Sample For A Cause Charity

qSample is proud (or more like humbled) to support such charities as PAWS Chicago, National Kidney Foundation and others. During this Holiday Season, we would like to increase our giving, and invite you to be part of it. Our sample has worked for many esteemed clients in market research; now we would like to use our sample for a cause.

Here’s how it works:

Request a bid for a data collection project
Project value must be $5000 or above
Sign an agreement to launch before December 31st

At the completion of your project, we will donate $1000 to a charity of your choice

It’s as simple as that. To learn more, contact us or call 312-924-0220 and mention “Sample For A Cause.”

No matter what, we value our client relationships and thank you for being our partner. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the coming year.

All the best to you, your family, and your organization!

The qSample Team

happy holidays banner




The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Valentine’s Day Business

The theme to the Love Boat can almost be heard as Valentine’s Day approaches (at least for those of us not millennials). Yet it’s more like a Love Titanic because of the amount consumers will spend to prove their hearts to significant others (and often not spend).

It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of Valentine’s Day business, and feel free to rearrange the titles of each section.


The Good

According to the latest survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend a heart-stopping $18.9 billion in 2015—an amount more than all previous years. The average person celebrating the holiday will spend a bit more than $142.

Here is the survey’s breakdown, and it might be wise to take a shot of insulin before reading:

–  53% plan to buy candy ($1.7 billion in sales).
–  21% plan to buy jewelry ($4.8 billion in sales).
–  37% plan to buy flowers ($2.1 billion in sales).
–  35% plan on a special night out ($3.6 billion in sales, spending an average of $87.94 on Valentine’s Day).

Add to that $2 billion spending on clothing and $1.5 billion spending on gift cards, and it’s a wonder the national anthem isn’t a mashup of Lionel Richie’s Hello and Pink Floyd’s Money.



The Bad

The heart wants what the heart wants, and it’s not all humans, it seems. A howling $815 million will be spent on pets. This does not mean only Fido and Felix will get heart-shaped treats, however. An article in the USA Today quotes the American Pet Products Association saying “pet owners have treated even fish, horses and ‘small animals’ to Valentine’s Day gifts.”

The article furthermore states how American businesses are reacting to this peculiarity:

“Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on these love-struck consumers, pet retailers, manufacturers and shelters have rolled out myriad Valentine’s Day-themed promotions that tout everything from adoptions to “be mine”-logoed dog clothing to heart-shaped dog treats.”

In the end, it might be all for naught, as one animal expert in the piece soberly states: “The reality is that your pets don’t know its Valentine’s Day. You’re not going to get grief if you don’t come home with anything.”

For some reason it’s doubtful this would be the case with a spouse…



The Ugly

Perhaps these somber statistics might put on the love breaks, taken from an article in Money Magazine:

–  25% of men spend because they feel obligated or are just trying to get lucky.
–  25% of women buy Valentine’s Day gifts for themselves.
–  200% is the amount increase in the price of roses during the holiday.
–  25% the drop of spending amount from a fiancée to a wife.
–  50% of couples prepare a month ahead for Valentine’s Day, dropping to 33% once they have been together five years or more.

Moreover, there is even a Hating Valentine’s Day movement, for those of you weary of the commercialization of romance (or just finding yourself in the “single” category yet another darn holiday). Useful hashtags for this solidarity of loneliness on Twitter: #AntiValentinesDay, #foreveralone and #singlelife.


The idea that love should be business is not as cynical as it may sound. In his book Conscious Love, Richard Smoley proposes that love has always been commerce from ancient times. Even with the end of arranged marriages to ensure financial security, there has never been such a notion as unconditional love between couples. After all, two individuals uniting in love usually exchange certain conditions to remaining together: fidelity, kindness, friendship, etc. If these conditions (or “payments”) are compromised, a marriage or relationship could well go bankrupt.

As Oscar Wilde said: “Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.”

This might be all academic, though, as nothing is going to stop the Love Titanic in its ecstasy of gold on this Valentine’s Day—not even an iceberg of ungrateful pets, unlucky men on Twitter, or women home alone eating chocolates from heart-shaped boxes.

Valentine's Day Infographic

Holiday Wine Survey – Champagne and Sparkling Wine Lead the Way!

For many – the Holidays mean spending time with family. Our Holiday wine survey definitely reflects that. Results from the survey conducted by YourWineOpinion.com with Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog during the first two weeks of December reveal that 96% of respondents indicated they will be buying wine or bubbly for a Holiday celebration; almost half (46.1%) plan to purchase wine for a family dinner this year.

So whether your purchase of “good cheer” is to make your Uncle Frank more interesting, tolerate your Aunt Rachel’s nagging or as a thoughtful pairing for your sister’s beef tenderloin, consumers reach for many forms of wine during the Holiday season.

YourWineOpinion’s Holiday Wine survey spelled out what motivates casual wine drinkers and enthusiasts towards their purchases this season. Buying wine for a family meal topped the list as the number one reason for a consumer purchase, with “purchasing for party” coming in at 29.5% and “as a gift” at 23.4%.

It’s no surprise that price led the way in factors that influence Holiday wine purchases at 39%, and perhaps this is a good sign of economic recovery – more than 34% of survey respondents indicated they were willing to spend between $11-$20 for a bottle of wine this holiday season.

As many in the wine industry may already know – the Label is a key influencer when it comes to how consumers choose their wine. More than 15% of our survey respondents agreed. The data also revealed that varietal is the second leading influencer among survey respondents (24%). Red varietals beating out their white wine counterparts, and Merlot leading the charge at 13.2% for reds and Chardonnay at 12.4% for whites.

What kind of holiday wine survey wouldn’t include sparkling wines? Not ours! Over 70% of those surveyed said they were buying Champagne/Sparkling wine – nothing surprising there, but what maybe be considered novel is the fact that American Sparkling wine came in a close second at 31.6% to swanky and festive favorite French champagne at 33%.


Of course, where consumers plan to buy wine is of interest, with the following categories in the top three: liquor store 25.9%, grocery store 18.3% and Discount/Wholesale store at 12.2%.

qSample’s Wine Enthusiast Panel – YourWineOpinion.com is an exclusive group of research panelists who are deeply profiled and agree to share their opinions on all things wine-related. Over 300 responses were collected for the survey with respondents from the following demographics:

• Over 50% are college educated
• 31.4% make over $56,000 in income
• 71% are between the ages of 25-34

Maybe this insight into our Wine Enthusiast Panel has sparked some ideas for your own Holiday purchases or ways in which you can use our specialty panels for your next research study? For more information, please contact sales-team@qsample.com.

by Rudly Raphael

New Data on New Year’s Resolutions and Holiday Exchanges

Research Access is proud to announce a new partnership with qSample, the Research Access / qSample Poll. Our goal is to regularly provide interesting, topical poll results.

Our first Research Access / qSample poll was fielded using qSample’s online consumer panel in the US. The poll fielded from January 3 to January 7th and includes 296 completed interviews.

We decided to ask a few questions about holiday gift-giving and exchanges as well as New Year’s resolutions.

Here are the results:

Did you receive a gift or gifts this holiday season?
Yes 83%
No 17%



So far, have you kept or broken your New Year’s resolution(s)? (among those who made one or more resolutions)
So far I have kept my resolution(s) 87%
I have broken my resolution(s) 13%

We hope you enjoyed this poll. Our resolution, which we promise not to break, is to bring you more interesting data throughout 2012.

by Rudly Raphael