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PwC: Savvy retailers will target consumer subsegments this holiday season

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – The majority of consumers will likely spend the same or slightly more this holiday season compared to years past, the PwC 2015 Holiday Outlook released Tuesday suggests. However more retailers are targeting subsegments of consumers to help capture a greater share of the holiday season spend. 
 
While the majority of consumers will likely spend the same or slightly more this holiday season compared to last year, the "survivalists" (shoppers with household incomes less than $50,000 per year) continue to face a challenging economic environment and have indicated that they will be spending less. Millennials – which represent 75 million people – are now a major force in the consumer markets and will spend a larger share of their holiday dollars on experience-related purchases, and selectionists (shoppers with household incomes more than $50,000 per year) have a greater interest in distinctive brands and innovative products. 
 
PwC forecasts that today's consumer preferences and economic realities will likely make the 2015 holiday season one of the most interesting we have seen in years. Holiday season winners will likely be successful by strategically engaging the millennial and "selectionists" shoppers with compelling brands, experiences and innovative products or by serving the survivalists with an emphasis on value through strategic pricing, discounts and promotions.
 
"While our survey found that on average, consumers plan to spend $1,018 during the 2015 holiday shopping season, retailers are less concerned with these types of predictions this year and have prioritized engagement with the distinct shopper segments and building long-term relationships," said Steven Barr, PwC's U.S. retail & consumer leader. "The leading retailers are employing aggressive strategies in both the physical and digital channels to establish meaningful relationships with these segments – which is why we believe the biggest winners of all this holiday season will likely be the consumer as it is, without a doubt, a buyer's market."
 
PwC outlined 10 big trends that are expected to drive the 2015 holiday shopping season:
 
  1. Holiday spending: is the glass half full or half empty? Consumers are cautiously optimistic this holiday season with 53% indicating they will likely spend about the same as last year and 32% indicating they will likely spend more than last year. Of all age groups, young millennials – aged 18 to 24 – indicated they are the most optimistic;
  2. Income levels drive survivalists and selectionists Retailers are dealing with two very different categories of shoppers. Survivalists want the best deals as they simply have not felt the benefit of an economic recovery; consequently, they will likely spend less this holiday season than they did last year, with a preference for gift cards. Selectionists have a distinctive brand appetite and are more likely than others to spend on travel, entertainment and the latest in personal electronics. They're avid online shoppers and plan to spend slightly more this holiday season than last year. Overall, the most popular items this holiday season will likely focus on health and wellness, athletic leisure and innovative products and will likely fall within the following categories: gift cards, toys, clothes and shoes, accessories and home electronics;
  3. Millennials matter Millennials (aged 18-34) are the retail prize this holiday season. They are primed to potentially spend $63 billion this holiday season, which would be more than they spent last season. And they crave diverse experiences: 52% of their holiday spending will likely go toward experience-related purchases such as travel and entertainment, versus 39% for older shoppers. Interestingly, millennials ranked online shopping lower on their list of preferred channels after department stores, mass merchandisers, and specialty stores than older shoppers. This is in keeping with their thirst for experiences as they want to be able to see, touch, and feel the merchandise;
  4. Savvy shoppers choose discounts, promotions All shoppers love a great bargain. In fact, the majority of holiday shoppers surveyed said price is a major factor influencing their holiday shopping decisions. But, there are differences when looking at the survivalists and the selectionists. As many as 90% of survivalists responded that price is the No. 1 factor influencing their holiday shopping decisions while nearly 60% of the high-end of the selectionists indicated quality merchandise as a major factor in their holiday shopping. Shipping figures prominently in online purchasing decisions: 83% of shoppers said standard free shipping would make them extremely likely to make a purchase. Free returns, both in-store and online, also play a role in shopping decisions with 67% of shoppers wanting to return online purchases in-store;
  5. Beyond Black Friday . . . the long reach of the shopping season All the anticipation around and build-up to Black Friday is less relevant as shoppers are seeking deals earlier in the season. As a result, the ever-expanding holiday shopping season includes late October and the entire month of November; consumers will likely complete more holiday shopping (29%) before the start of Black Friday week than during (26%);
  6. The power of brand As many as 86% of consumers will likely only shop brands they trust. Millennials are twice as likely to shop brand leaders as older shoppers, energized by the thrill of innovation. Generation Z is even more brand-savvy as their awareness of entertainment, computer, mobile, gaming and social media brands is upwards of 80%;
  7. It's the interaction; not the transaction Almost 60% of consumers will likely shop in-store this holiday season because they want to see, touch and try the merchandise. In fact, so many shoppers want an in-store experience that some previously online-only retailers have established a physical store presence. And, the leading retailers are improving their in-store experience to surprise and delight the consumer;
  8. Digital growth continues its upward trajectory As many as 66% of retailers plan to increase their digital investment in the next 12 months and 77% expect a 16% increase over last year in digital revenues this holiday season. And, PwC believes the leaders in online shopping will likely experience 40% to 50% increases in digital revenues. Areas of investment include mobile technology, advanced logistics aimed at faster real-time delivery, and enhanced purchase methods such as buy online and pick up in-store. However, consumers draw the line at using their phones for mobile payment: 61% prefer using traditional payment methods such as cash (preferred by survivalists), credit card (preferred by selectionists), debit card, gift card or personal check;
  9. What role does cybersecurity play? More than 40% of consumers say a security breach in the last 12 months would likely affect their holiday shopping at a particular retailer. Millennials are even more concerned (52%) than shoppers over 35 (38%). Well aware of consumer concerns, both retailers (70%) and manufacturers (60%) are shoring up measures to address cybersecurity;
  10. It's a mad, mad world The global economy has recently experienced significant volatility in the equity, currency and commodities markets. Wages in the U.S. have yet to break out of their low growth slump especially for the survivalists and negative headlines can weigh heavily on consumer sentiment. Retailers and manufacturers rank the economy as the greatest impediment to a successful holiday shopping season, followed by consumer confidence.
 
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New Bio-Oil documentary raises money for burn survivors

BY David Salazar

 

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Burn Survivors Tell Their Stories

Posted by Bio-Oil USA on Sunday, October 4, 2015

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Scar and stretch mark product maker Bio-Oil announced Monday that they have launched a campaign to raise money for burn survivors and benefit burn injury nonprofit, the Phoenix Society. 

The company has made a documentary profiling burn survivors and posted it to the Bio-Oil Facebook page. Every time the video is shared, the company will donate $1 to the Phoenix Society up to $25,000, to be presented at the organization’s World Burn Congress on Oct. 21.

The video profiles five burn survivors and their stories, as well as the difficulty of their recovery, both physical and emotional — something that more than 486,000 people treated for burn injuries every year face. The video is embedded above. 

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GMDC HBW: Top 10 items trending in product showcase

BY David Salazar

PHOENIX — One of the centerpieces of GMDC’s Health Beauty Wellness 2015 conference is its product showcase. Drug Store News has picked its favorite OTC and beauty products from the showcase, and over the course of the conference, the suppliers and retailers on hand have chosen theirs. The top products are chosen by buyers who, when visiting the showcase, are given Android-based scanners that are used to scan the QR code on a brand’s display. The 10 brands with the most scans as of 2 p.m. Sunday are below.
 
Drive Medical's HurryCane
Drive Medical acquired HurryCane a little more than a month ago, and the product’s name recognition — touted by Drive Medical CEO Harvey Diamond when the acquisition was announced — seems to have paid off at GMDC HBW 2015. The collapsible cane, which has a base that works on various terrains, will soon see a wider distribution, according to Drive Medical.
 
Cotton Buds, Inc.
With “Star Wars Episode VI: The Force Awakens” set to hit theaters this holiday season, the force was strong with Cotton Buds’ GMDC HBW 2015 display. The entry featured packs of cotton swabs and portable tissues starring Yoda, Imperial Stormtroopers and other well-known "Star Wars" imagery. Cotton Buds’ display is 1-of-2 in the Top 10 with a “Star Wars” license.
 
Lornamead
Lornamead’s display focused on its line of skin care devices — including Portable Pedicure, Home Spa Treatment and its Advanced Cleansing System — that tap into a growing area in the beauty category, and it seems like suppliers are looking to capitalize on an emerging product field.
 
Brush Buddies
Brush Buddies’ display featured products that appealed to different demographics, with both its Soniclean Pro One electric toothbrush and its line of toothbrushes aimed at children that features Shopkins characters.
 
Dickinson Brands
Dickinson Brands put its Dickinson’s Witch Hazel skin care products front and center, touting the various uses for witch hazel beyond just itch relief, to include skin cleansing and maintenance.
 
Goddess Garden
Goddess Garden emphasized its natural spray-on sunscreen with its display, which emphasized that the product was made with organic ingredients.
 
J.R. Watkins
The J.R. Watkins brand has shown that a 147-year-old brand can still compete in the beauty segment. The company’s display at GMDC HBW 2015 featured its various castile soaps — in solid and liquid form — as well as its lip balm, body lotion and creams.
 
MZ Berger
MZ Berger’s display showed that Minions-branded products — seemingly omnipresent this summer following Dreamworks’ release of “Minions" — has staying power well into the fall. The display featured 30 Minion-shaped bottles of strawberry-banana scented 3-in-1 body wash, shampoo and conditioner.
 
Medline/Curad
Medline Industries puts its focus on its “Extreme Hold” line of Curad bandages aimed at adult athletes and available in a variety of colors. The display also touted the bandages’ ability to adhere to skin despite water and physical activity.
 
Dr. Fresh
Like Cotton Buds, Dr. Fresh also put its focus on “Star Wars” licensing, showcasing its Firefly timer toothbrushes that were in Stormtrooper white and even in the shape and color of famous Jedis’ lightsabers.

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