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Tanya Hall
Indiana Business Research Center

Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter holidays in Indiana in 2009: Festive fun facts from the Indiana Business Research Center

Dec. 17, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa coming up soon, here are some interesting Hoosier holiday factoids from the Indiana Business Research Center in Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

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A season of celebration

94 percent of Hoosier adults celebrate at least one winter holiday -- Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

Shop 'til you drop

November through December retail sales last year totalled $441.97 billion, which was a decline of 3.4 percent from 2007 and the first drop recorded by the National Retail Federation since it began tracking this information in 1992. Holiday season sales are expected to decline by 1 percent this year over 2008. If the National Retail Federation is correct, then holiday sales will total $437.6 billion this year.

Hoosiers are projected to spend an average of $1,053 on 2009 holiday related shopping, a 7 percent increase from 2008. Of this amount, consumers expect to spend $610 on gifts.

When to shop?

The holiday season lasts 55 days, as shopping begins at the start of November and goes through Dec. 24. In 2008, retailers' average sales were $8.04 billion per day. With an expected drop in 2009, the daily average would be nearly $8 billion per day.

Last year, 40.2 percent of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Halloween. Nearly 37 percent of shoppers began shopping in November with the remaining 21 percent waiting until December.

Where to shop?

Indiana has 4,789 retailers. Here is breakdown:

  • 2,583 clothing and accessories stores
  • 587 gift, novelty and souvenir shops
  • 484 sporting goods stores
  • 477 jewelry stores
  • 233 book stores
  • 228 department stores
  • 197 hobby, toy and game shops

Indiana has 235 electronic shopping and mail-order houses, which employ 5,011 people. This year 38 percent of Hoosiers plan to shop online. Nationally, retail sales online and through mail-order totaled $24 billion last December, which was the highest total for any month last year.

What to buy?

This holiday season 71 percent of Hoosiers plan to purchase at least one gift card. The average Hoosier plans to purchase six gift card certificates.

This year 42.2 percent of consumers plan to purchase toys, up slightly from 41.6 percent in 2008.

For second year in a row, video games reign as the most popular gift for boys. The second and third most popular boy toys are Transformers and LEGOs. For the sixth year in a row, Barbie is expected to be the top girl gift followed by dolls and Hannah Montana toys.

Where gifts come from

Indiana has 19 companies with 298 employees that produce games, toys and children's vehicles. Indiana also has 21 doll, toy and game manufacturing facilities that employ more than 300 workers.

The value of U.S. toy imports -- including stuffed toys (excluding dolls), puzzles and electric trains -- from China between January and August 2009 totaled $4.3 billion. China was the leading country of origin for stuffed toys coming into this country, as well as for a number of other popular holiday gifts. These include roller skates ($30 million), sports footwear ($120 million), golf balls ($31 million) and basketballs ($29 million).

Christmas trees and decorations

Farms numbering 231 on 3,175 acres in Indiana are devoted to Christmas tree production. Also, 177 of the 231 tree farms cut 198,899 trees used as Christmas trees or decorations last year.

The sales value of cut Christmas trees and short-rotation woody crops in Indiana totaled $2.66 million. Oregon leads the nation in sales with $109.3 million.

U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China totaled $470.3 million between January and August. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($28.6 million worth) during the same period.

It's in the mail

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 17 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, the USPS delivered 19 billion cards, letters and packages. The average amount of mail processed daily was 583 million. It handled 839 million pieces last year on Dec. 14 alone.

USPS will process 30 million pounds of mail for delivery to overseas military installations, including war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in November and December.

Holiday treats and feasts

The top five most liked Christmas cookies last year were sugar cookies, gingerbread man cookies, peanut blossoms, thumbprint cookies and Russian tea cakes (also known as Mexican wedding cakes).

In 2007 Americans consumed 122 million pounds of eggnog -- a popular holiday beverage that consists of eggs, milk, cream, sugar and an assortment of spices and spirits -- with peak sales occurring the week before Thanksgiving, the weeks of Christmas and just after Christmas. Per capita consumption was 0.4 pounds or roughly half of a cup of eggnog.

Chickens on Indiana farms produced 6.5 billion eggs in 2008. Indiana accounts for 7.2 percent of all egg production in the U.S. In 2005 Rose Acres farm in Seymour, Ind., was named the second largest egg producing firm in the nation.

Also in 2008, 3.3 billion pounds of milk -- another key component of eggnog, was produced in Indiana. Total U.S. production of milk was 190 billion pounds, and Indiana produces 1.7 percent of the nation's supply.

More than 1.8 billion candy canes will be made for the winter holiday season, including the traditional peppermint flavor as well as super-sour, fruit and tropical flavors. Indiana has 47 establishments dedicated to the production of sugar and non-chocolate confectionary products.

A total of 293,000 pounds of peppermint was produced in Indiana in 2008. Indiana also produced 81,000 pounds of spearmint. Indiana ranks fourth and fifth in the nation's supply of these spices.

For those who would like to celebrate holidays with wine, there are 43 wineries throughout Indiana that offer a wide array of choices, including the new Indiana Signature wine, Traminette.

For those without time or an inclination to bake, there are 102 retail bakeries in Indiana.

The winter holidays represent the biggest boxed chocolate selling season as 70 percent of adults give or receive a box of chocolates. In Indiana, 31 establishments manufacture chocolate products from either cacao beans or purchased chocolate. These locations may produce a portion of the 150 million chocolate Santas that will be made for the winter holidays.

Holiday travel

An estimated 87.7 million Americans are projected to travel more than 50 miles from home during the year-end holidays, a 3.8 percent increase from last year. In Indiana 1.8 million people will travel in this time period, a 10 percent increase from 2008.

In 2009, 88.6 percent of Americans plan to complete their holiday travel by automobile, and 62,709,957 passengers got to their holiday destinations by airplane last December -- the ninth busiest month in total flight passengers.

The time and money spent traveling is a small price to pay to be with loved ones, say 60 percent of people. Four reasons given for holiday travel: creating memories, maintaining traditions, reconnecting and building relationships, and improving a person's sense of overall well-being.

Data for this release came from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Postal Service, National Retail Federation, USDA Economic Research Service, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Indiana Wine Grape Council, Travel Industry Association, American Automobile Club, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Deloitte LLP and Deloitte Services LP, Hoosier Ag Today and the National Confectioners Association.

To find these facts and more, visit the Indiana Business Research Center at . The IBRC is part of a national network of State Data Centers and acts as the official state representative to the Census Bureau on matters relating to the census and population estimates. The IBRC also develops and maintains STATS Indiana, the award winning, state-supported Web service (