December 2, 2019
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Washington consumers prefer to shop in-store, says recent holiday retail study

In the Pacific Northwest, shoppers may think Cyber Monday is the best day to find great deals but according to research conducted by Washington State University’s business college, 43% of consumers in the region prefer to do their shopping in-store.

"We’ve found shoppers often find inspiration for gifts while perusing the aisles and value in-person customer service and the ability to see and feel the products," Joan Giese told the WSU Insider. Giese is a clinical associate professor of marketing at WSU.

The survey examined more than 1,700 PNW consumers' perceptions and attitudes toward the holiday shopping season and sought to understand how and where consumers are planning to do their shopping this year. Key findings include:

  • PNW consumers continue to turn toward Cyber Monday to catch the best deals, while Black Friday continues to lose its allure.
  • PNW consumers continue to prioritize spending time with family on Thanksgiving over shopping.
  • The driving factors behind consumer decisions to shop in-store vs. online are propelled by a desire for quality service in-store and better savings online.
  • PNW residents are thrifty and budget-conscious but may splurge more for the holidays.
  • Although Small Business Saturday receives less attention from consumers, small businesses may benefit from shoppers' appreciation for the perks of supporting local businesses and a positive in-store experience.

View the full report here.

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Holiday Inspiration
Good Building

Cross-laminated timber can help the Northwest lead on the Green New Deal

By Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and his director of communications, Conor Bronsdon

We live in a region of pioneers and conservationists in a land built on the back of the timber industry. The idea of sustainable working forests fits not just our historical industrial strengths, it fits our regional ethos. In the Pacific Northwest, we want to live green. It's time for Seattle to take the lead on mass timber. With cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber products we can move to solve our housing crisis, develop needed density, and address climate change -- all while staying true to our regional culture and history.

By using CLT in the development of much-needed housing we will actively remove and store carbon from the atmosphere -- every cubic meter of timber growth captures one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. Construction would simultaneously emit less carbon.

Encouraging CLT usage could also jump-start stalled rural economies that have languished since the logging industry slowed down. Construction startup Katerra opened the nation's largest capacity CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane and Vaagen Brothers Lumber, which has been in Washington for four generations, is expanding CLT production operations in Colville. With the state making code changes fall that allow for the use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories, the region is primed to use CLT to address our affordable housing crisis.

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
A more resilient workforce

Prepare students for technical careers

By The Seattle Times editorial board

Once, all it took to secure a satisfying and well-paying job was a high school diploma and a good work ethic. But that story has largely changed.

That's why Washington's public schools must offer robust, high-quality Career and Technical Education programs to help prepare the state's vocationally minded students for career success.

A college education should be within reach of all students with the aptitude and interest to pursue a four-year degree, but not everyone wants to follow that path. At the same time, there is a high and consistent workforce demand for skilled tradespeople, without whom Washington's economy would shudder to a halt.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times.