Posted November 4, 2011 3:59 pm by with 1 comment

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Small shifts in income can have a big impact on American families, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck. Unemployment, extended sick leave, declining sales in your own business are all reasons to stop and think about where the money is going.

But what if you earned a little more next year? Say, 10% more? What would you do with it? Nielsen asked this question in a survey and got some interesting answers. Though a quarter of respondents said they’d sock away some of it in a savings account, 29% wanted to spend it on travel or a vacation. Right behind that with 20% was recreation and entertainment.

When you reverse the process, oddly, the answers aren’t the same. Facing a 10% decrease in income, apparel was the top choice for cuts, followed by dining out and electronics. Guess baby’s not getting a new pair of shoes this month!

Take a look at the full chart below. If your business involves any of the items on the red side, be prepared to make bigger concessions this holiday season including price and shipping breaks. Also think about adding value with bonus items, or discounts on additional items purchased at the same time.

Yesterday, I was shopping at Hallmark and they almost got me to spend $50 over my original purchase plan thanks to their current Peanuts Holiday Band promotion. The toys sell for $30.00 but you can get them for only $15.00 with any purchase. Nice. But there are four characters in the band, one comes out each week. Each week requires a purchase to get the discount. The next thing you know you’ve spent $60 on the band and an additional $60 on items you wouldn’t have bought without the deal.

A small change in income makes a big difference and so does a small change in shopping cart totals. Find a way to give your customers 10% more and maybe you’ll have some extra cash for a vacation when the holiday rush is done.

Here’s the full charge from Nielsen.



  • Adi

    Good old elasticity of demand 🙂 Interesting stats though, thanks for sharing.