Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 04, 2015

Holiday sales by U.S. department stores in December 2014, according to the U.S Census Bureau: $24.5 billion

Percentage jump that is from the previous month: 41.2

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of employers who say they've fired someone for holiday shopping online while at work, according to a CareerBuilder survey: 12

Percentage of employers who say they block employee access to some websites from work: 56

Percentage of employees who use their own personal devices to shop online while at work: 42

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Percentage of employees who said their favorite work-related holiday celebration is an office party, according to an Office Team study: 52

Percentage who said they'd rather not celebrate the holidays at work: 4

Source: OfficeTeam.

Percentage of shoppers who described their mood as happy after holiday shopping, according to an Ipsos study: 68

Percentage of shoppers who said they were buying something for themselves: 57

Source: Ipsos Data.

When asked what their go-to gift was for someone they didn't know particularly well or someone they hadn't planned to give a gift originally, percentage who said gift cards, according to a survey by Consumer Reports: 29

Percentage who cited wine/other alcohol: 16

Percentage who said chocolate/dessert/candy: 15

Source: Consumer Reports.

Average amount that companies giving gifts plan to spend for employees, up nearly 16 percent from 2014, according to an Advertising Specialty Institute survey: $44

Percentage of all companies giving gifts to employees that say they will spend more than $100 on each employee gift this year: 25

Average amount that companies plan to spend thanking clients: $48

Percentage of all responding companies who report that 100 percent of the gifts they give out this season -- to employees, customers and prospects -- will have the company's logo on them: 46

Source: Advertising Specialty Institute.

Percentage of American workers who don't plan to give gifts to their co-workers, according to a survey by Spherion survey: 56

Percentage who don't plan to give a gift to their boss: 59

Percentage of workers who aren't planning to buy gifts for anyone at work for reasons other than money who say they don't want to because they feel they would have to buy something for everyone, and they consider that to be "too much": 43

Source: Spherion.

Percentage of Americans who have given someone a gift card, according to a Bankrate.com report: 76

Percentage who have received a gift card: 83

Most common value range given (true across all income levels): $25 to $50

Source: Bankrate Inc.

Percentage of Americans who are planning to purchase toys as gifts this holiday season, according to a Harris Poll: 58

Ranks of children's books, arts and crafts supplies, dolls, console video games and board games on the list of planned purchases this year: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: The Harris Poll.

Busiest day for Christmas travel, according to a survey by Orbitz Worldwide: December 23

Average price of airfare in 2015: $493

Source: Orbitz Worldwide.

Idle Thought

"To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature." -- Auguste Rodin, sculptor

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