It’s Now or Never to Shop

Nov 17, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Paco Underhill, executive director of Envirosell and author of Why We Buy, told Business Week in an interview that he expects to see consumers to splurge a little more
this holiday season on themselves and others.

Mr. Underhill explained his thinking. “People are starting to feel better about themselves and their prospects as they read about all the good economic news. One of the hot buttons
driving sales this season will be a feeling of, ‘If not now, then when?’ A significant number of people are going into the last third of their lives. The people with money are
getting to a point where they’re starting to see a turnaround in the larger economy but not necessarily in the political world. There are things they have always wanted, and they’re
thinking that if they don’t get it now, they may never get it.”

Not everyone fits into the splurging category, said Mr. Underhill. “Retailers need to remember that while the majority of us are doing better, a significant minority is hurting.
For them, the concept of gifting, really the Zen of gifting, is more important rather than the actual gift itself. That means delivering them inexpensive gift ideas that are practical
or consumable. For an example: Pasta in exotic shapes.”

“For these customers, stores need to do a better job of wrapping these items. I’ve seen some stores recently that understand that gift-wrapping is part of the theater of shopping.
Watching a book disappear when it is wrapped fuels the fantasy and makes you imagine a child ripping open that packaging. It also reminds everybody else in the store that this
is a place that sells gifting solutions. ”

Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree with Paco Underhill on how consumers will shop during the holiday season?

Okay, we admit it. We’re getting the Border Terrier puppy for Christmas as much for ourselves as for the kids.

Why wait? We’re not getting any younger and who knows what tomorrow will bring.

We haven’t decided on what type of bow to put around the puppy’s crate yet. ;0) [George
Anderson – Moderator

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