Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 12, 2010

Estimated percentage of U.S. households that have pets, according to a survey conducted by Pet Supplies "Plus": 50

Percentage of owners who will spend more on their pets than on their spouses when buying gifts: 28

Percentage who will spend more on their pets than on their in-laws: 54

Source: Pet Supplies "Plus."

Percentage increase in price over the last year of the 12 days of gifts mentioned in the traditional song, according to Pittsburgh-based PNC Wealth Management: 10.8

Estimated price of the five gold rings, up a third from last year: $649.95

Percentage increase in the cost of turtle doves: 78

Percentage increase in the cost of the three French hens: 233

Source: PNC Wealth Management.

Percentage of households that have an HDTV today, up from 16 percent in 2007, according to Scarborough Research: 48

Percentage of households that have at least one smart phone today, up from 7 percent in 2007: 14

Percentage of households that have at least one MP3 player today, up from 18 percent in 2007: 36

Source: Scarborough Research.

Percentage of U.S. adults who say they send cards during the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's season: 76

Percentage who like to receive lengthy "form letter" updates from family and friends: 51

Percentage of respondents who say they send cards to bring joy to others: 70

Percentage who do it to feel happy: 54

Source: Harris Interactive.

Percentage of bank customers who have been hit with a negative credit experience for the first time in their lives during the past two years, according to a Deloitte Center for Financial Services survey: 11

Overall, percentage of consumers who have experienced a serious negative credit situation since the peak of the crisis in September 2008, including events such as delinquency, foreclosure, bankruptcy and charge-offs: 22

Source: Deloitte Center for Financial Services.

Approximate number of real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. every year, according to the National Christmas Association: 25-30 million

Estimated number of real Christmas trees currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the U.S.: 350 million

Estimated number of farms growing Christmas trees in the U.S.: 15,000

Source: National Christmas Tree Association.

Percentage of American workers who plan to make a dent in their holiday shopping during work hours -- either through online shopping while at work, shopping on lunch breaks, taking sick days or cutting out a little early periodically, according to the survey conducted on behalf of Adecco: 46

Percentage of workers whose jobs require the use of e-mail and voicemail regularly who plan to stay connected to the workplace throughout key holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day: 71

Source: Adecco.

Ranks of local TV news, broadcast primetime dramas and sitcoms and broadcast network primetime reality TV among program genres selected by viewers when asked which type of program "is a major part of my daily routine," according to a survey conducted for Hearst Television by Frank N. Magid Associates Inc.: 1, 2, 3

Percentage of respondents who said they "pay more attention" to local TV news than most other TV genres: 45

Source: Hearst Television Inc.

Percentage of corporations that plan to spend about the same on corporate gifts for both employees and prospects or clients, according to a survey from Successful Promotions magazine: 57

Ranks of food, calendars and gift cards on the list of the most commonly cited client or prospect gifts: 1, 2, 3

Ranks of gift cards, cash bonuses and apparel on the list of the most commonly cited gifts for employees: 1, 2, 3

Source: Advertising Specialty Institute.

Percentage of coupon users who now cite the Internet or e-mail as a source for coupons, according to Mintel: 32

Percentage of consumers who said they got coupons from the Internet or had them sent to their e-mail account five years ago: 19

Percentage of respondents who say their coupons come from leaflets inserted in newspapers: 71

Source: Mintel Comperemedia.

Idle Thought

"If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers." -- Irvin S. Cobb, author and journalist

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