Jingle Bells Sound Tocsin for Pollsters to Take Our Pulse

By Harper, Jennifer | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 9, 1997 | Go to article overview

Jingle Bells Sound Tocsin for Pollsters to Take Our Pulse


Harper, Jennifer, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Call it the North Poll. Even Christmas is not immune from pollsters eager to define American holiday habits.

Consumer surveys surface in droves during December, cataloging both the trite and the intriguing.

Eighty percent of all women want jewelry for Christmas. This is according to Zales Jewelry. Prevention magazine wants us to know that 61 percent of Americans "plan to eat whatever they want" in the next few weeks, and expect to gain 3.9 pounds.

And there's a reason for all those crying kids down by Santa's throne in the mall. A visit with the jolly old elf - along with Christmas caroling - ranks among the "least favorite" holiday diversions, according to a survey of 2,700 people by Department 56, a company that makes holiday figurines.

"A good survey is a snapshot of what is," said Chris Cooper of America's Research Group, a marketing company that released the results of their annual Christmas survey a few weeks ago.

"We asked 91 assorted questions to 1,000 people about the holidays," he explained. "Do they mind decorations going up before Halloween? Does Christmas mean more than it used to? We can predict consumer behavior based on the answers."

Some surveys get mighty finicky.

American Express, for example, found that 57 percent of shoppers surveyed planned to buy stocking stuffers this year, spending about $15 a pop. Dimension Research Inc., which surveyed American "shopping intentions," found that 31 percent of us will still be shopping the last few days before Christmas.

In time for Christmas, National Decision Systems determined that the average parent annually spends $365 on toys per child. …

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