November 16, 2004

Debit Cards Are King Now

NRF: Debit Cards Pass Credit as Most Popular Payment Method this Holiday Season

--Average Person has Completed 24.4% of Shopping--

Washington, DC, November 16, 2004--Credit is no longer king when it comes to holiday spending. According to the second installment of the NRF 2004 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the use of debit/check cards is soaring, with 34.7 percent of shoppers planning to use debit or check cards as their primary form of payment during the winter holidays, up from 30.7 percent last year. The survey also found that fewer consumers will use credit cards to pay for merchandise this holiday season (29.5% vs. 30.1% in 2003). Dependence on cash (25.9%) and checks (9.9%) has also subsided this year.

"Consumers have been budgeting and planning ahead for the holiday season, so it's no surprise that credit will take a backseat to debit cards this year," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "With debit cards, consumers can keep a handle on the money they have to spend without worrying about carrying cash."

Shoppers will be heading to the stores for a variety of merchandise this holiday season. According to the survey, consumers plan to purchase books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games (60.1%), clothing and clothing accessories (59.5%), and gift cards (51.8%) this holiday season. Also, 43.3 percent of consumers will purchase toys.

Though many consumers started their holiday shopping earlier than ever this year, most of them still have far to go on their gift lists. As of November 12, the average person had completed about a fourth (24.4%) of their shopping. Although most consumers have completed less than ten percent of their list (68%), some shoppers are ahead of the game. According to the survey, one in 20 consumers is almost completely finished with holiday shopping (more than 75% complete).

"Consumers had the best of intentions to get a head start on shopping this year, but the holiday season has snuck up on shoppers once again," said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy at BIGresearch. "The weekend after Thanksgiving will be extremely important for retailers this year, so shoppers will be greeted with great sales and discounts when the doors open on Black Friday."

NRF continues to project that holiday sales will increase 4.5 percent this year to $219.9 billion.

About the Survey

The NRF 2004 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey, which polled 7,349 consumers, was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch from November 3-10, 2004. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch's syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet and independent stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 23 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2003 sales of $3.8 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations.


Posted by Craig at November 16, 2004 06:27 PM