Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 14, 2008

Ranks of Milford Sound, New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Cayo Largo, Cuba; and Rhodes, Greece, on the list of top 2008 Travelers' Choice World Destinations, according to TripAdvisor's Destinations Awards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ranks of Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Big Sur, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; Poipu, Hawaii; and Sedona, Ariz., on the list of 2008 Travelers' Choice U.S. Destinations: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: TripAdvisor.

Percentage of holiday shoppers who don't begin their holiday shopping until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, according to data from Mediamark Research and Intelligence: 2.3

Percentage who shop after Christmas: 1.3

Source: Mediamark Research.

Percentage of consumers who made a holiday budget -- an increase of more than 17 percent from the year before, according to a Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll: 59

Of the 39 percent of consumers who made a budget last year, percentage who stayed on it: 45

Percentage who went over-budget last year: 44

Percentage who went way over-budget: 3

Source: Consumer Reports.

Percentage of holiday shoppers who said that if they see something that would be "just perfect" for themselves, they'll probably buy that too, according to a survey by Taubman Centers: 73

Source: Taubman Centers Inc.

Percentage of in-home online activity that takes place while simultaneously watching TV, according to The Nielsen Company's new TV/Internet Convergence Panel: 30

Source: Nielsen Media Research.

Percentage of consumers who would remain loyal to a brand during a recession if it supports a good cause, according to findings from this year's global study of consumer attitudes released by Edelman: 68

Percentage who say that if two products are of the same quality and price, commitment to a social purpose trumps factors like design, innovation and brand loyalty when choosing one brand over the other: 42

Source: Edelman.

Percentage of respondents who said their perceptions of Christmas decorations have changed in comparison to last year, according to a study conducted by HCD Research: 35

Percentage who felt that elaborate decorations would be inappropriate in a time when the country faces serious national and international concerns (job-loss, economy crisis, war, etc.): 37

Source: HCD Research Inc.

Percentage of tweens and teens who expect to receive fewer holiday gifts this year than last, according to a survey conducted by youth opinion research company Node Research: 51

Average retail price of the average 10-year-olds' wish list: $794

Source: Node Research.

Percentage of businesses that will be conducting some type of holiday celebration this year, according to the findings of Battalia Winston's annual survey on corporate holiday celebrations: 81

Percentage of companies that say that their holiday party has been impacted by the economy (either canceled or scaled back): 37

Percentage that were affected last year: 19

Source: Battalia Winston.

Whether taking a break from holiday shopping or a brief respite from visiting relatives, percentage of Americans who say their favorite way to relax this season is watching a holiday movie: 70

Percentage who say it's taking a nap: 14.3

Source: Redbox.

Idle Thought

"A city that outdistances man's walking powers is a trap for man." -- Arnold Toynbee, historian (1889-1975)

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)