Feminized E-Commerce, Filthy Destinations, Etc.

With women warming up to online retailing, some female-oriented categories are forecast to thrive this year. A study by Forrester Research predicts that online sales of cosmetics and fragrances will be 33 percent higher this year than last. Jewelry/luxury goods are forecast to see a 31 percent rise, while flowers/cards/ gifts will grow by 30 percent. A couple of those sectors will join the ranks of categories in which at least 10 percent of all sales come through the Internet. These will include computer hardware/software (48 percent), travel (26 percent), consumer electronics (13 percent), cosmetics/fragrances (12 percent), toys/videogames (12 percent) and flowers/ cards/gifts (10 percent).

No wonder you don’t see them outside playing catch. In a Sports Illustrated for Kids survey of 7-17-year-olds, 95 percent reported owning a console or handheld videogame system. On average, the kids rent 2.8 games per month, and they buy an average of 2.59 games. This entails a hair-raising amount of spending: Kids shell out an average of $33.02 per month of their own money and $38.63 of their parents’ money for videogames.

Not content just to keep us clean, the Soap and Detergent Association also keeps us informed. The trade association’s Summer Vacation National Cleaning Survey (fielded by International Communications Research) offers some tidy tidbits on Americans’ experiences with vacations and cleanliness, or lack thereof. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they’ve found themselves in a vacation destination that was “disgustingly filthy”; 43 percent reported having “felt the need to clean eating areas when they first arrived at a destination.” Naturally, they’ve made their own messes while on the road: 51 percent have managed to get stains on their clothes while vacationing. Forearming themselves against road-trip dirt, 56 percent bring bar or liquid hand soap, 44 percent bring hand/personal wipes and 41 percent bring hand sanitizer. Other items in vacationers’ luggage include cleaning/disinfectant wipes (31 percent), disinfectant spray (21 percent), air sanitizer (14 percent) and stain wipes (14 percent).

If you’d rather go hungry than ride to work with your neighbors, you’re not alone (except while in your car). In a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch, Americans claimed to be making all sorts of cutbacks in spending—even in the groceries they buy—due to the high price of gasoline (see the chart below). But the same poll found just 6 percent of respondents saying they’ve done more carpooling as a result of high pump prices. They’ve got to draw the line somewhere! On the plus side, the number of people saying gas prices were crimping their Memorial Day plans was lower this year than in 2004 (35 percent vs. 38.5 percent).