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  Tuesday, 19 Oct 2010 | 1:29 AM ET

Fuller Stockings: Americans to Spend More on Holiday Gifts

Holiday gift givers are planning to be a bit more generous this holiday season as the economy continues to make a slow recovery, and that’s welcome news because after two years of practical gifts, recipients want a little “bling” in that package. »Read more
  Monday, 18 Oct 2010 | 5:02 PM ET

Hot Toy Trends: Legos, Princesses—and Lucrative Licensing

Zoobles, Squinkies and Sing-A-Ma-Jigs.

Silly names, for sure, but all part of one of the biggest trends for this holiday season: collecting.

»Read more
  Monday, 18 Oct 2010 | 2:05 PM ET

Can Department Stores Knock Off Fast-Fashion Strategy?

Posted By: Barbara Thau
In a bid to capture younger shoppers and recoup market share lost to stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara—which churn out runway-inspired looks at bargain prices—JCPenney bowed in-store shops from Spanish chain Mango; Macy's rolled out the Material Girl line from Madonna; and Sears unveiled “Now+Here,” a fast-fashion junior and apparel department. »Read more
  Monday, 18 Oct 2010 | 11:57 AM ET

Demand for Guns, Food Stamps Indicates Uncertainty: Analyst

Posted By: Michelle Lodge
The rise in gun sales and food stamp demand are indicators of a fearful public that’s struggling financially, Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist, ConvergEx Group, told CNBC Monday. »Read more
  Thursday, 14 Oct 2010 | 12:03 AM ET

Value-Added Tax Could Cost 850,000 Jobs: Retail Group

The National Retail Federation is trying to put some numbers behind its argument against a value-added tax, which is one option being considered by a presidential commission looking into ways of reducing the ballooning federal deficit.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 13 Oct 2010 | 11:45 AM ET

Online Retailers Target Cash Paying Customers

Posted By: Julia La Roche

Two key trends have dominated the retail sector this year: the robust growth of online shopping and the shift to cash payments from credit.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 12 Oct 2010 | 1:13 PM ET

As 2011 Approaches, Booze Comes Back

Posted By: Brian A. Shactman
AP

As 2011 approaches, booze is back.

And that's good news for the alcohol business, which is $188 billion strong.

Alcohol sales were once called recession-resistant. But the financial crisis hurt just about every segment of the consumer culture, so now, industry experts call it recession-resilient.

Trends are strong in wine and spirits, and even though the volume of beer sold is down, revenue is not off as much because of price increases.

A lot of Americans still choose to have a drink at home rather than go out, but even that trend is starting to shift.

“As the worst of the economic situation appears to be over, and confidence is returning, consumer traffic is up,” said Mike Ginley from Next Level Marketing .

“Most of the major restaurant chains are reportingsame-store sales gains now, and that’s a very good sign going into 2011.”

At the US Drinks Conference in New York City, however, there is considerable disagreement over whether another trend continues: The trade-down.

“Frugality is fashionable now,” Ginley insists. “Even among the affluent, it’s all about frugality—value for the money.”

But to Mike Foglio, who just purchased Anchor Steam beer, one of the country's most-well known craft beer brands, he sees luxury’s strength—with room for growth.

“While there’s still trading down, I just look at other industries,” he said. “There are still a lot of BMWs being sold. Tiffany’s is doing well. Chanel is doing well. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy is doing well.

“So, there’s a public out there that wants high-quality spirits and craft beers.”

What isn’t up for dispute among market experts is the potential impact of social networking and smart-phone technology. Right now, some of the marketing is more gimmick than substance.

But that is changing, too.

Gary Vaynerchuk, who hosts the “Wine Library” online, has more than 40,000 Facebook friends and 800,000 people follow him on Twitter.

When he says publicly that he likes a product, it sells.

He thinks that the next wave for smart-phones is pitching consumers right at the point of sale.

“I love the idea of someone going to Walmart to buy a six-pack of Becks,” he said. “When they get to Walmart, they check in (on their phones) because that’s going to become a new kind of social move. And then, there’s a message from [its competitor] Heineken that says ‘blahblahblah,’ watch this video and then take this UPC barcode and get 50-cents off a six-pack.’ ”

Call it the 21st century circular.

What’s also promising about social networking is how it gives every company the same chance to succeed.

“The nice thing about social media is that it levels the playing field,” said Foglio, who ran Skyy Vodka before creating Anchor Brewers and Distillers. “Companies like mine can actually get in the game like the big companies.”

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com

»Read more
  Thursday, 7 Oct 2010 | 3:02 PM ET

Is Shopping Headed for a Pre-Christmas Slump?

Get ready for some consumers to snap their purses shut in October.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 6 Oct 2010 | 1:03 PM ET

Retail Sales Prep: Retailers Hitting a Rising Bar

A late burst of back-to-school shopping will likely help sales at U.S. retail chains in September, according to the latest analyst forecasts.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 6 Oct 2010 | 11:51 AM ET

Retailers Must Adopt New Tactics for Holidays: NRF CEO

Retailers need to adopt different tactics in order to coax consumers to spend on more than just the bare necessities, Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation told CNBC.

»Read more

About Consumer Nation

  • From the products to the pitches to the people who buy them, we are a Consumer Nation. This blog focuses on all things consumer, taking the pulse of the attitudes that shape purchasing decisions, and providing insights that will help keep marketers, entrepreneurs and investors up-to-date on where trends are heading.

 

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