Holiday Season Spending Facts and Trends from DealTaker.com
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 - 7:39 am
DALLAS, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the National Research Federation's (NRF) 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch,holiday shoppersexpect to spend an average of $704.18 onholiday giftsand seasonal merchandise. At the same time, web sites catering to coupons and deals saw 38% more visits in November over last year. These shoppers want to find a good deal on all the items on their wish lists, and they expect to find them quickly.
Thus far, the use of online resources and mobile devices has provided consumers with a greater ability to comparison shop and identify which store has the best price before they even head out the door. Additionally, consumers are increasingly buying their holiday goods online. Case in point, comScore reports that Cyber Monday 2011 was the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.25 billion.
"Even though online holiday shopping is up 15% this year, the Great Recession taught consumers that a great deal can always be had," says Michelle Strong, President of the premier online savings hub DealTaker.com. "Armed with informative discount shopping sites and new deal mobile applications, shoppers are able to stretch their budgets to get the most out of their holiday dollars." READ MORE HERE
No Hit Toy to Brighten Retailers’ Christmas
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD Published: December 12, 2011
With Christmas less than two weeks away, the toy industry has no runaway hit — leaving many toy shoppers bored and complicating how stores sell holiday inventory.
“We are not seeing people clamor for any single item,” Stephanie Lucy, vice president for toys at Target, said by e-mail.
The hitless season has retailers stocking less, leaning on classic items rather than new ones and possibly discounting less in the final days before Christmas. And with no Tickle Me Elmo or Zhu Zhu Pets to draw crushing crowds to the toy aisles, most retailers are being careful not to get stuck with unsold toys.
“As retailers look at consumer confidence numbers, they are skeptical about consumers’ willingness to spend this holiday season, and they are trying to avoid getting caught with too much inventory,” said Josh Green, chief executive of Panjiva, a supply-chain data company. READ MORE HERE
Consumer Injuries Involving Decorations and Decorating Are on the Rise
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Holiday decorating plans do not normally include lacerations, falls and fires. Unfortunately, these hazards make an unwelcome appearance in the homes of thousands of consumers each year. To help avoid hidden decorating dangers, CPSC and UL are providing families with tips for a safe holiday home.
Reports of falls from ladders while stringing lights and hanging decorations, incidents of lacerations from broken glass ornaments and other holiday-related injuries are increasing. During November and December 2010, CPSC estimates that more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency departments nationwide due to injuries involving holiday decorations. This is an increase from 10,000 in 2007 and 12,000 in 2008 and in 2009.
Although estimates of deaths and injuries related to Christmas tree and candle fires are down, there are still an alarming number of incidents. Live trees or other evergreen decorations that have dried out burn fast and hot in a matter of seconds if they come in contact with an open flame.
Between 2006 and 2008, there was an annual average of four deaths and $18 million in property damage related to Christmas tree fires. During this same time period, CPSC received reports of about 130 deaths and $360 million in property losses related to candle fires. READ MORE HERE
English Continues to Be World's Most Influential Language
OTTAWA, Ontario, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- TalktoCanada, the company trusted by Ernst & Young, Novartis and Saudi Telecom for English language training, is reporting that English continues to be the number one language for international business and succeeding abroad.
According to a study by Language Monthly*, there are 115 countries that use English as a main language. This number far outperforms French, which ranks second with 35 countries.
The combined population of countries using the English language is nearly 5 billion.
"Companies entering the international business world discover quickly that competition is intense and challenging if your staff do not master English. Whether you are selling to customers abroad, entering a joint venture, or managing foreign staff, it is critical that your staff undergoes some form of English training to succeed," says Marc Anderson, Managing Director of TalktoCanada.com.
Even China, with its population of 1.1 billion, is embracing English as a necessity to compete internationally. According to Premier Wen Jiabao, more than 300 million Chinese are presently studying English.
There are currently 326 million English-speaking users on the Internet (28.9%), and 166 million Chinese (14.7%)**. With the evolution of Social Media and crowd driven content, the English language is estimated to continue to grow.
TalktoCanada has helped hundreds of individual and corporate students meet their English training objectives since its inception in 2006. READ MORE HERE
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving
Washington (CNN) -- A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.
The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to limit the use of portable electronic devices -- recommending bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. Tuesday's recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.
It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices, but devices installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed, the NTSB said. READ MORE HERE
The White House Owes an Apology to Chester A. Arthur
President Obama set another horrifying legal precedent today, by messing around with that most important of statutory laws: The 2005 Presidential $1 Coin Act, which"requires the U.S. Mint issue new presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased president." The White House announced today that the U.S. Mint would no longer make these coins for general use, since it's a silly vanity project that no one cares about.
The administration expects that this will save $50 million in production costs per year. But is such a sum worth denying Chester A. Arthur his place in the sun? READ MORE HERE
Bill upsets woman, who throws wine box, beer can at boyfriend
- By Naples Daily News staff report
- Posted December 11, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.
An East Naples woman was accused of throwing a box of wine and a beer can at her boyfriend, saying he racked up a large bill on her credit card.
Karen Rowand, 44, of the 4600 block of Orchard Lane, was arrested Saturday by Collier deputies at home.
According to a Sheriff’s Office report, deputies arrived to Rowand’s residence and found her live-in boyfriend with a cut under his eye and blood dripping down his face.
When deputies asked Rowand’s boyfriend what happened, he told them Rowand accused him of taking $2,000 from her credit card, and when he denied it, she became irate and attacked him. READ MORE HERE
Hand Grenade Christmas Tree Ornaments Spark Outrage
You won't find these hanging on Bill O'Reilly's tree.
The Swedish Army Museum in Stockholm is coming under fire for selling Christmas tree ornaments shaped like hand grenades.
The Stockholm museum is selling the ornaments to raise money for Christian Aid, a charity that combats poverty and helps with disaster relief. The museum's website says the ornaments are "a subtle reminder of those who are less fortunate than we are during the holiday season," according to UPI.com.
But visitors like Elinor Lindeborg feel the grenade ornaments don't really fit the "peace on Earth, goodwill toward men" sentiment associated with the season.
“Quite simply I think it's distasteful, especially if they are raising money for charity," Lindeborg told Sveriges Television (SVT). "This is a museum frequented by children, and it's hard to explain to them why there are hand grenades in the Christmas trees.”
JAPANESE MAKE WORLD'S BIGGEST KITKAT
On our humble opinion the KitKat isn't the king of wafery biscuits. It's younger brother KitKat Pop Chocs owns that crown.
In Japan they still prefer the original two finger classic and University of Tokyo students have made a giant version, measuring 100 x 60 x 20cm and weighing 80kg. It's part of a push to encourage high school students to prepare for the forthcoming entrance examinations in Tokyo.
KitKat is considered a lucky food in Japan as it is pronounced "kitto katsu" in Japanese which means "I surely win". READ MORE HERE
A MAN modelling women's lingerie? Andrej Pejic proves a push-up bra can create serious cleavage... even for the truly flat-chested
Last updated at 4:31 PM on 13th December 2011
Most lingerie firms might choose a Victoria's Secret-esque bombshell to model its latest push-up bra.
But though Dutch department store Hema has certainly cast a beauty in its new lingerie campaign, the fact that star model Andrej Pejic is actually a man makes him an unlikely choice.
While the 20-year-old may look as stunning on the catwalk in Jean Paul Gaultier womenswear as he does in Marc Jacobs menswear, can he really do the business when it comes to women's bras? READ MORE HERE
St Matthews unveils provocative Christmas billboard
By 3 News online staff
St Matthews-in-the-City Church has again rolled out a provocative billboard in time for Christmas - their latest showing Mary with a positive pregnancy test.
The church says the billboard aimed to “avoid the sentimental [and] trite” and “spark thought and conversation”.
St Matthews has caused controversy with numerous provocative billboards in recent years.
In 2009, their Christmas billboard showed Mary and Joseph in bed with the tag line, “Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow.”
This year Vicar Glynn Cardy says St Matthews wanted to focus on what it was like for a real mother with a real child.
The church’s website says the billboard has purposely been left blank of any text. READ MORE HERE
Wild monkeys to measure radiation levels in Fukushima
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo
11:17AM GMT 12 Dec 2011
The new project, conducted by researchers at Fukushima University, will involve monkeys being fitted with collars containing radiation meters and GPS transmitters.
Scientists will be able to monitor radiation levels deep across forest areas in Fukushima, home to the nuclear power plant severely damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The collars will detachable remotely at the end of the experiment, which will last up to around two months, according to a team of scientists led by Professor Takayuki Takahashi.
We decided to use monkeys for this project because the territory they cover is very well known to us," Professor Takahashi told the Telegraph. "It's the first time such an experiment has been carried out with monkeys." READ MORE HERE
Seal hops into home, naps on couch
Updated December 14, 2011 13:11:42
Annette Swoffer lives about 300 metres from the water at Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty on the North Island.
She was at home on Sunday night when she heard a racket and went to investigate.
She found the fur seal curled up on the couch having negotiated a busy road, a long driveway, a fence, cat door, two cats, a dog and a set of stairs.
"It was a lovely experience I'd have to say, a real treat," she said.
The seal ignored Ms Swoffer's dog and cats and plonked itself on the couch for about 45 minutes.
"I was in my office and I heard an awful racket down below ... I thought the cats have brought a rabbit or something in so I went down and had a look - and there's a seal in my kitchen," Ms Swoffer told The Bay of Plenty Times.
"I thought 'I'm hallucinating, this is just wrong'."
Ms Swoffer called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who then called the Department of Conservation (DOC), which sent a ranger to pick the mammal up. READ MORE HERE