Percentage of shoppers who feel retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year due to the current state of the economy, according to a Price Grabber survey: 66
Percentage of shoppers who said they started saving money before June to financially prepare for the gift-giving season: 21
Percentage who said it was acceptable to spend less on gifts because of the economy: 28
Number of billionaires in the United States, according to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013: 515
Estimated net worth of these billionaires: $2 trillion
Ranks of New York (96 billionaires), Los Angeles (22), Chicago (21), San Francisco (20) and Houston (14) on the list of the super rich hotspots in the United States: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
From 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012, of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, number where median home values fell, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 39
Of the metro areas with the largest declines (in dollar terms), number that were in California: 6
Number that were in Florida: 2
Of the 11 metro areas where median home values actually increased, number that were in Texas: 4
Source: Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends.
Percentage of consumers who admitted they have items in their closets that are still in shopping bags or have price tags, according to a poll by CreditDonkey.com: 24
Percentage who said they have frequent arguments over money: 18
Percentage who said their main reason for using credit cards is to pay for items when they don't have enough money: 19
Percentage of American workers who would rather receive a great holiday gift than have an office party -- an increase of 12 percent from last year, according to a survey conducted by Lands' End Business Outfitters: 78
Of the employees who give their boss a gift, percentage who give a group gift: 36
Source: Lands' End.
Of the U.S. employers who are hiring seasonal workers, percentage who plan to transition some into full-time, permanent staff -- up 10 percentage points over last year, according to CareerBuilder's annual survey: 49
Ranks of retail, information technology, leisure and hospitality, and financial services on the list of employers who also plan to hire seasonal staff : 1, 2, 3, 4
Percentage of people in 24 countries who agree (give a rating of four or five on a five-point agreement scale) that they "care what efforts brands are making to help the environment," according to findings in a poll conducted by Ipsos OTX: 52
Ranks of Argentina (70 percent), Mexico (68 percent), Indonesia (66 percent), South Africa (62 percent) and Germany (60 percent) on the list of countries most likely to agree they care about the efforts of brands to help the environment: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Rank of the United States on the list (51 percent): 14
Source: Ipsos Open Thinking.
Percentage of brand-specific gift cards that charge purchase fees, versus 100 percent of general-purpose gift cards, according to research released by Bankrate.com: 11
Of the 55 widely held brand-specific cards that include retailers, restaurants, airlines and gas stations, number that charge a purchase fee to all customers: 3
Source: Bankrate Inc.
Percentage of households in America that have damaged a laptop, phone, camera or tablet during the holidays, according to SquareTrade's holiday survey: 12.5
Percentage of damages during the holiday season that are attributed to holiday activities -- traveling (22 percent), shopping (12 percent), cooking (10 percent) and decorating (7 percent): 51
Percentage of Americans who will make traditional phone calls as the preferred way to communicate with family and friends this holiday season, according to a Cricket Wireless national survey: 46
Percentage who will use digital messaging: 45
Percentage of Americans who agree that electronic messaging has replaced traditional acknowledgments using pen and paper: 85
"Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them." -- T.S. Eliot
(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)