Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 07, 2008

Percentage of respondents who think travelers are ruder during the holidays, according to a survey by TripAdvisor: 24

Percentage who said air travelers have gotten ruder over the past 10 years: 83

Percentage who said oblivious parents are the most annoying air travelers: 59

Source: TripAdvisor

Percentage of the employees hired over the holidays that managers expect will continue to work for them into 2009, according to a SnagAJob.com survey: 46

Percentage of managers who agree the most important thing is "a positive attitude and eagerness to have a job": 34

Source: SnagAJob.com

Percentage of small businesses that sell goods online that report they have seen their annual shipping costs increase this year, according to an Endicia survey: 84

Percentage of these companies that have incurred a fuel surcharge from their shipping carrier: 40

Estimated percentage of shipping costs for ground service of private carriers that is accounted for by fuel surcharges: 8.25

Estimated percentage of shipping costs for air service of private carriers that is accounted for by fuel surcharges: 28.5

Source: Endicia.

Estimated amount of money American consumers will pour into the market across the six largest holiday spending occasions (Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween and the winter holidays) in 2008, according to the Packaged Facts report "Holiday Spending in the U.S.": $134 billion

Source: Packaged Facts.

Percentage of tweens who agree that toys are necessary to have fun, according to a study by Harris Interactive's Youth Center of Excellence in collaboration with the founders of the Sandbox Summit: 62

When asked what they enjoyed most about playing with their favorite toy, ranks of fun (22 percent), variety of ways to play (22 percent), pretend role play (20 percent), creativity and building (16 percent), and imagination (13 percent) as the top responses: 1 (tie), 3, 4, 5

Source: Harris Interactive.

Among consumers scaling back on gifts, percentage of respondents who plan to cut back on gifts for their pets this season, according to a Consumer Reports holiday shopping poll: 23

Percentage who plan to cut back on buying for friends and families: 40

Source: Consumer Reports.

Percentage of holiday shoppers who stated they were more likely to make gifts this year versus last year, according to a poll conducted for Michaels Stores Inc.: 58

Percentage who said handmade gifts were the best use of their holiday shopping dollars this year: 41

Estimated number of U.S. households that craft for the November/December gift-giving season, according to the Craft and Hobby Association: 42 million

Source: Michaels Stores Inc. C

Percentage of Americans who say they plan to reduce holiday food costs by celebrating at home instead of in a restaurant, according to a survey by Allrecipes.com: 48

Source: Allrecipes.com.

Percentage of online shoppers who would be likely to make an impulse shopping decision if they saw something online that is perfect for someone they know, according to a survey conducted on behalf of GSI: 59

Percentage of women who are likely to make an impulse purchase online in response to limited-time offers: 60

Percentage of men who are likely to do the same: 4

Source: GSI Commerce Inc.

Percentage of respondents who are planning to stay at or close to home to save money over the holidays, according to Microsoft's "Xbox 360 Holiday Entertainment Survey": 60

Percentage who are looking for one gift to bring the family together: 71

Percentage of adults in households with children who are looking for gifts that provide entertainment while staying home this year: 81

Source: Microsoft.

Idle Thought

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." -- John Wooden, basketball coach

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