HOT DESIGNER BRANDS

Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Calvin Klein are the top three designer brands purchased by consumers with annual incomes of $500,000 or higher, according to the New York-based Luxury Institute. Those polled were asked to indicate what brands they have purchased in the past 18 months.

PRIVATE LABEL BEATS BRAND-NAME PRODUCTS

Private label is stepping up as the best new “brand” in stores, with sales outstripping branded sales 2-to-1 during the past seven years, according to ACNielsen's recently released 2005 Consumer and Market Trends Report. “Consumer loyalty — responding to the delivery of high-quality, high-value private label lines — is the driving force behind private label's remarkable performance,” the report stated. “Not only are heavy private label shoppers increasing their shopping frequency and market baskets, but the pool of private label buyers now reaches across all demographic and psychographic lines.” Private label offerings populate virtually every single home in America and the typical household enjoys products from more than 20 private label categories. The figures for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25, 2004 illustrate the trend that continues.

RX SPENDING

Consumers spend an average of $54.13 a month on prescription drugs. A survey by BigResearch found that older consumers spend $81.94 on average each month, compared with $28.07 for 18- to 34-year-olds.

ONLINE SHOPPING VARIES BY AGE

Some 55.6 percent of consumers purchased at least one gift online during the holiday season, that number rising among higher incomes and younger age groups, according to a survey by BigResearch, a Prosper International Co. unit. Which sites shoppers used differed according to age, with Amazon ranking highest in all but the youngest category, where it was bested by eBay and Wal-Mart.

WHAT WEBSITE DID YOU MAKE MOST OF YOUR PURCHASES FROM?
18-24
1. eBay 16.8%
2. WalMart.com 12.5%
3. Amazon 10.6%
4. Buy.com 4.4%
5. CircuitCity.com 3.6%
25-34
1. Amazon 24.2%
2. eBay 16.5%
3. WalMart.com 3.3%
4. Quixtar.com 2.1%
5. Overstock.com 1.7%
35-44
1. Amazon 23.3%
2. eBay 13.6%
3. WalMart.com 5.0%
4. Overstock.com 4.5%
5. BestBuy.com 2.2%
45-54
1. Amazon 14.9%
2. eBay 14.3%
3. Overstock.com 4.5%
4. WalMart.com 3.8%
5. JCPenney.com 2.0%
55-64
1. Amazon 16.8%
2. eBay 7.8%
3. WalMart.com 2.4%
4. Overstock.com 2.2%
5. (tie) QVC.com & Barnes&Noble.com 1.9%
65+
1. Amazon 16.3%
2. eBay 7.8%
3. Overstock.com 3.0%
4. WalMart.com 2.5%
5. QVC.com 2.3%
Source: BigResearch