Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 14, 2014

Rank of gift cards on the list of the top five holiday gifts for 2014, according to a survey published by Time Inc. and YouGov: 1

Percentage of holiday shoppers who expect to indulge themselves with a personal purchase: 45

Source: YouGov.

Percentage of U.S. adults who will wait until Christmas Eve to do most of their shopping, according to a poll conducted for Offers.com: 1

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Based on a Consumer Reports poll, estimated number of Americans who will soon be presented with an awful gift: 49 million

Percentage of respondents who said they've received lousy gifts: 20

Percentage who identified mothers- and fathers-in-law as the parties who gave the worst gifts: 11

Percentage who pass along the misery by regifting: 15

Source: Consumer Reports.

Percentage of travelers who enjoy staying with friends and family during the holidays, according to a HomeAway report: 36

Percentage who aren't overly thrilled: 64

Percentage who feel the worst part of staying with family and friends over the holidays is the lack of personal space: 29

Source: HomeAway.

Estimated amount that the U.S. retail industry generated during the holidays in 2013, according to Statista, the statistics portal: $3.19 trillion

Percentage of the retail industry's total 2013 sales that were accounted for by holiday-period transactions: 19.2

As a result, estimated number of extra employees who were hired to compensate for the holiday rush: 768,000

Source: Statista.

Percentage of shoppers who said they did no holiday shopping online, according to consumer survey information conducted by Kelton Research, RetailMeNot data and other third-party research: 14.5

Source: RetailMeNot.com.

Percentage of companies hosting Christmas parties that have an open bar, according to the results of the Holiday Parties and Office Morale survey, conducted by BizBash and Seamless: 45

Percentage that have a cash bar: 7

Percentage that do not serve alcohol: 21

Source: BizBash.

Percentage of Americans who have made an impulse purchase, according to a CreditCards.com report: 75

Percentage who have spent $100 or more on an impulse purchase: 33

Number of times more likely that men are than women to spend $1,000 or more on an impulse buy: 3

Rank of "excited" on the list of most common emotions at the time of the impulse purchase: 1

Source: Creditcards.com.

Percentage of major retailers that offer financing options to their customers, according to research by CardHub: 69

Of the major retailers that provide financing, percentage that currently offer a deferred interest plan: 50

Source: CardHub.

When asked if they would prefer to give a gift with a $25 value, a gift certificate with a $25 value or simply $25 in cash, percentage of respondents who chose the gift certificate, according to a survey by Saint Leo University Polling Institute: 39

When it comes to receiving a gift, percentage of people who would prefer receiving $25 in cash: 41

Source: Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Idle Thought

"There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all." -- Ogden Nash

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