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As consumers continue to shop through the holidays, high-end brands are collaborating with lower-priced companies to encourage an increase in sales and to spark interest. Neiman Marcus and Target joined forces for this holiday season and have just released affordable merchandise in Target from luxury designers such as Derak Lam, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Tory Burch, etc. It is important for retailers to continuously find new and innovative ways to attract current and new customers.- Janett A

It is expected for Christmas trees to fly off lots this year, as a sign of economic recovery. Recovering economy and higher consumer confidence have showed a brighter holiday-shopping season. Tree prices have increased and there is a strong supply this year, facts reflected in multiple retailers' increasing tree sales expectations. The National Christmas Tree Association has tracked increases in sales as well. Investing in the holidays is consistently a sign of consumer confidence. -Katie R

As Black Friday came and went several retailers took a different approach to the biggest day for shopping. Target and Footlocker were banking on their exclusive merchandise to bring in the crowds, while other retailers such as Wal-Mart and Crocs relied on their traditionally low prices. One thing that has not changed is that consumers want quality products at a bargain. Chanel Wallwork NRF SmartBrief

According to an article in Business News Daily, 68 % of consumers are opting out of the hectic Black Friday shopping and choosing other ways to go about spending. Cyber Monday seems to be an even more attracting option to consumers across the states allowing them to avoid the big rush. Chanel W.

While the internet might seem like a convenient place to shop, according to an article in the New York Times. Retailers are trying to get shoppers away from the internet. For times of shopping madness such as Black Friday, stores like Walmart provided a smartphone map that shows shoppers exactly where the Black Friday Deals can be found. Through apps, retailers are now notifying shoppers of special sales and where they can get it, all in hopes to encourage in-store shopping.- Janett A.

Technology continues to play a huge role in society. According to an article on cnbc.com, "so far, online shopping has grown sharply this holiday season." With a burst of access to new technology, online sales increased 17.4% on Thanksgiving. The following Monday from Thanksgiving & Black Friday is now said to be Cyber Monday for online shoppers. Retailers are now taking advantage of this 'consumer behavior' and are offering internet and mobile deals to continue to lure customers in.-Janett A

Women's Wear Daily conducted a study on the motivation of the average Black Friday shoppers. Consumers are largely drawn by the thrill of a 'treasure hunt' and a need to take a break from family togetherness. Additionally, experts divide Black Friday shoppers into 3 categories: young women who enjoy social shopping, hard-core bargain hunters and families on a tight budget. -Katie R

Chief merchandising officer of sears and KMart noted a different behavior and attitude in Black Friday shoppers this year. As opposed to the amped up shoppers who have camped overnight, Thanksgiving night shoppers (which have increased exponentially) are much more relaxed and likely to shop more sections of the store. Also, consumers are looking for more options on how they shop, for example demanding online order/in-store pick-up. It is vital for retailers to offer these options. -Katie R

In this article from the NRF Global SmartBrief retailers are encouraged to expand their business into Canada. For many reasons including space for retail stores, Canadian consumers use of the Internet is greater than any other country, and their growing economy, Canada has endless opportunities. Chanel W.

While technology continues play a bigger role in our everyday life, business have also decided to tap into our personal cellphones. Coming into Spring 2013, text-message marketing will gain popularity. Texts from retailers or brands will offer limited time offers and discounts to attract customers. It is important to recognize that business are constantly finding ways to utilize technology in their marketing strategies. Janett A

It's easy to see catalogs as antiques, outdated by booming, inexpensive e-commerce. However, recent years have seen the "reinvention of the cataglog", particularly among Millenials and those earning over $ 50000 a year, who have boosted catalogs as a channel to shop. In fact, last year 30% of Americans purchased from a catalog. While not good for all retailers, catalogs can help highlight products not seen in store or online. -Katie R

A brief look at social culture on NYTimes.com describes the phenomenon closely associated with our immediate access to texting and other instantaneous and impersonal methods of communication. The article asserts that this lifestyle has created a certain laziness and flakiness. This attitude toward the convenient transcends into so much more, from internet shopping to simple, non-cumbersome consumer goods. Stormi C.

In a recent article on the nytimes.com, the younger generation of shoppers are relying on various apps on their cellphone and tablets to assist them with their shopping. Instead of waiting around for a sales associate, customers are saving time and browsing online stores to check out the different styles. Rather then suffering the repercussion of technology on their sales associates, stores likes Nordstrom are embracing this trend & adding various technology devices to their service.-Janett A

Today, consumers are looking for great customer service; in-store to online. According to WWD, consumers "get vocal on Facebook & Twitter when service is bad." As Nordstrom, a top retail brand, strives to serve customers, they too are still finding ways to understand how customers define "service." As businesses are noticing this change in consumers, retailers are re-evaluating their omnichannel customer service. It is vital for retail brands to pick-up on these types consumer trends.-Janett A

Flash fashion has been around on the internet since 2007 and is a growing two billion dollar business. Sites such as Guilt allow the “in-the-know shoppers” to purchase exclusive designer fashions without having to venture out into New York hunting for sample sales. Fashion forecasters should pay attention to how the fashion conscious consumer is shopping and the price they are willing to pay for designer garments. Chanel W.

Fast, free, personal and seamless. These are the characteristics consumers look for in all aspects of shopping. In a retail world that is increasingly omnichannel, shoppers are looking for all of the ways they shop to be convenient. Consumers want all forms of customer service to be seamless, going between in-store and online and become vocal when service is bad. This raises the bar for retailers, who are trying to get up to speed on how customers define service. -Katie R

With the recent controversy over Lance Armstrong using performance enhancer over the course of his career, supporters for the nonprofit organization he created called Livestrong no longer want to associate with the charity. This is a great example of how loyal consumers can be towards a brand or celebrity. Once the consumer feels betrayed or used they want to separate themselves from the problem immediately. This shows how careful brands need to be when marketing to desired consumers. Chanel W.

Just in the past year, a huge trend in our society has been "Do-It-Yourself Chic." As Pinterest emerged, consumers are continuously finding unique/creative and affordable ways to achieve a "cheap-chic" look. By altering their clothing, accessories, shoes, etc. consumers are saving money and recycling old items and making them in-style. Even celebrity and fashion icon, Lauren Conrad has noticed this trend in society, and has opened up a video blog of her favorite DIY's.-Janett A.

Consumers are playing a bigger role in the fashion industry now, more then ever before. Last month, the NY fashion show launched for spring 2013. In response, a Wall Street Journal article notes that designers might be playing it too safe with consumers. According to Maren Hartman a U.S trend analyst, "everyones still doing color-blocking, its the same old thing." Despite the designers inspiration, consumers are affecting the designers creativity and desire to push fashion forward.-Janett A

The National Retail Federation collected consumer data from the past year to predict holiday shopping habits and a discovered a common theme. Although shoppers are eager and prepared for the holiday season, most will take a relatively consevative approach to budgeting. While the average holiday shopper will spend around $750, an increase from last year, they are still skeptical of the economy. NRF categorizes the overall consumer outlook as "cautious optimism" as they hope to celebrate.Katie R

Recently, consumers have become more and more comfortable with "plastic swiping." In other words, the emerging market is becoming increasingly open to using credit cards and even store cards. As the economy begins to creep back up, consumers are becoming more open to using their credit cards again, which means, consumers are more comfortable with making bigger purchases. It is important to recognize current consumer trends and behaviors, as it plays a major role in the retail industry.-Janett A

Despite the scorn, more and more consumers are embracing the 'Christmas creep', in which the retail frenzy allows Christmas ads and mentality to start as early as September. Holiday deals like layaway and early discounting are seen as a way to uphold the family budget. The reported causes of this trend are the fiscal responsibility due to the financial crisis and catching shoppers with positive consumer sentiment. Both increase and affect sales.-Katie R

As an American specialty retailer, J. Crew is expanding their locations out into Asia. CEO Mickey Drexler states that moving into the Asian market is a critical part of the company’s long-term growth. The company plans to adjust several specs such as pant, skirt and providing more 00 sizes. Forecasters should take note of companies expanding internationally and cultural differences. Chanel W.

This article from CNN explains how social media and technology influences the way millennials shop. Consumers in this group are more frugal and less brand loyal then past generations. They tend to purchase items that are interesting and different by putting their personal style into their own looks. In addition, sights such as Copious are used as a space that allows people to share, buy and sell items they love. Chanel W.

Women's Wear Daily reports that utilizing technology, younger consumers, specifically thirty-somethings, are using the 'showrooming' trend. This method uses gadgets and tech savvy to find the best prices and view product selection to make decisions before they reach the store. -Katie R