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IBM: 2012 holiday shopping season to be ‘the year of mobile’

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM’s fifth annual "Online Retail Holiday Readiness" report has uncovered that 2012 may just be the year of mobile.

Based on data from more than 500 U.S. retailers, the report found that online mobile sales increased 88.8% in second quarter 2012, compared with year-ago period.

What’s more, IBM is forecasting that mobile sales will reach 20% of total online holiday sales this holiday season, and that mobile traffic will close in on 25%.

However, despite the growing trend in mobile shopping, social is lagging, according to IBM. The company’s recent Retail Online Index saw a 20% decline in social shopping in the second quarter, attributable to a lack of understanding on how to fully leverage social media, IBM said. Additionally, the IBM "2011 Chief Marketing Officer" study showed that 65% of CMOs surveyed believe they are underprepared for the growth of social and online channels.

Similarly, IBM’s "State of Marketing" 2012 survey found marketers are in the experimental stage when it comes to social media channels.

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Target calls on fans to help raise money for needy schools

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is using the power of social media to help raise money for needy schools.

The retailer has launched a campaign via its Facebook page that will enable fans to vote for schools they think deserve a share of Target’s $5 million "Give With Target" initiative this fall. The two-part giving campaign provides $2.5 million in grants to in-need schools, as well as up to $2.5 million in Target GiftCards to local schools.

The Give With Target campaign will include $25,000 grants to 100 in-need schools just in time for the start of the school year. Schools will be selected by Target and announced throughout August and four of the schools will also receive a surprise celebration. Disney Channel actress and Hollywood Records recording artist Bridgit Mendler ("Good Luck Charlie") will join the "Bullseye Bus" and Target volunteers to celebrate with students and staff at each of the four schools receiving a celebration. Mendler’s popular TV character "Teddy Duncan" inspired part of Target’s exclusive D-Signed collection of apparel and accessories for tweens.

"I’m excited to partner with Target on their Give With Target campaign and celebrate the start of a new school year with kids across the country," Mendler said. "It’s so important for all kids to have everything they need for a successful school year. I’m looking forward to surprising four schools and helping them celebrate their $25,000 grant from Target."

In addition, Target invites people to visit its Facebook page to vote for a school of their choice. For every 25 votes a school receives through Target’s Facebook application on Facebook.com/Target, the company will donate a $25 Target gift card, with a maximum donation of $10,000 per school. In total, Target plans to donate up to $2.5 million in Target gift cards to schools that receive votes through the Give with Target Facebook application, which runs July 26 to Sept. 8.

"Give With Target allows us to work with our guests to get excited about supporting teachers and students and set them up for a successful school year," said Laysha Ward, president of community relations at Target. "Together we can raise awareness about the importance of education and provide schools with the resources they need."

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Survey: More consumers budgeting for back-to-school shopping

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WILMINGTON, Del. — A survey released by Chase Slate with Blueprint revealed that more back-to-school shoppers are carefully managing their spending and borrowing by creating a budget and sticking to it.

Thirty-eight percent reported that they have a set budget for school-related expenses; in 2011, only 26% of people had created a budget for their back-to-school shopping. In addition, 32% said they anticipate their spending on back-to-school shopping this year to reflect prerecession figures.

“Consumers have learned a lot of valuable lessons about mindful spending over the last few years, and shoppers will be keeping those lessons top of mind whether they’re buying for school-age kids or stocking up for a semester at college,” said Rachana Bhatt, marketing director for Chase Slate.

When asked what would be their biggest expense this year, clothing and apparel was the top category, as it was selected by 43% of back-to-school shoppers. Roughly one-quarter each said that either books or technology (such as computers, smartphones and tablets) would be their biggest expenses (24% versus 23%, respectively).

That being said, parents are putting their collective foot down this year when it comes to popular gadgets. Half said they will not be purchasing the smartphones or tablets their kids are asking for this season. Twenty-six percent are drawing the line at designer clothes or shoes.

The Chase survey also found that shoppers will use a variety of tactics to save money this season:

  • 39% said they purchase such necessities as books first and only buy discretionary items with remaining funds;

  • 34% make a list and stick to it;

  • 26% said they shop online to save time and money;

  • 17% said they begin shopping after school starts to take advantage of Columbus Day and other post-season sales; and

  • 7% leave kids at home when doing back-to-school shopping.

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