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P.R. consumers more savvy, shopping later in season

The "Santa's List 2016" study surveyed 1,200 people.

The “Santa’s List 2016” study surveyed 1,200 people.

As this year’s holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, a recent study by the Arteaga & Arteaga advertising firm revealed that this year consumers will be more astute in their purchases, mapping out budgets and taking advantage of attractive discounts.

The “Santa’s List 2016” study — conducted through Arteaga & Arteaga’s research division, A&Answers — shows that nine out of 10 survey participants confirmed they will be doing holiday shopping this year despite the prevailing financial uncertainty, matching the answers given in 2015 and 2014 polls. Forty percent of those interviewed said they will keep the same level of spending as in prior years.

An overwhelming 80 percent of participants confirmed their shopping will take place after Black Friday, with 69 percent of them leaving the task for the week before Christmas. The study surveyed 1,200 people.

“These numbers reflect a positive trend, because we see that consumers who plan to maintain their spending level this year increases by 12 percentage points and those who are going to hold back on spending decreases 11 points compared with the results of last year’s ‘Santa’s List’,” said Juan Alberto Arteaga, vice president of strategy and new business for the agency.

According to the survey, 46 percent of respondents said they will stick to a budget, compared to last year’s 35 percent.

“This year Puerto Ricans are even more aware and informed when making purchases. This is a challenge for brands, as they have to persuade the consumer that has already decided how much to spend,” Arteaga said.

However, there is an area of opportunity for other retailers, as 35 of participants said they do not have a budget and 18 percent said they are not considering putting together a budget, Arteaga said.

“There is uncertainty around the Christmas bonus, and there are still people who said they were waiting for their tax refund. This means that brands must come up strategies that make an impact before and during the purchasing decision-making time,” he said. “Activation of promotions across platforms such as ‘mobile’ and ‘point-of-sale’ will be key to persuade them.”

Nearly half of participants, or 46 percent, said the best time to shop is after Black Friday, and half of them said they would take advantage of Black Friday deals.

“The economic situation had resulted in a more conscientious and ready consumer so it’s no wonder that eight out of 10 of the participants said they will only buy during special sales and 44 percent will use lay-away programs,” Arteaga said.

As for where consumers will make their purchase, the study showed an increase in interest in online shopping.

“We see a steady increase in online shopping compared to last year. Fifty-five percent of people confirmed an interest in doing online purchases, of which 12 percent will be doing so for first time,” Arteaga said.

In the same vein, 94 percent said they will shop at malls, 92 percent at discount stores and 90 percent in department stores.

“Last year we saw how consumers had made their adjustments, this year we are seeing that these adjustments have become a natural part of their buying behavior,” Arteaga said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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