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First Look: January 2013

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Snapshot Summary January 2013Eager to know where consumers stand as we begin the New Year?

We’ve got the latest details on consumer confidence, employment, purchase plans, financial goals as well as what’s hot (or not) in our January 2013 Snapshot Summary. Here are some of the highlights:

- Did the fiscal cliff free fall we nearly experienced lead to more fragile sentiment for the New Year? For January, just over a third (35.3%) is very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, down two points from last month.

- Though the U.S. unemployment rate remained stagnant at 7.8% for December, consumers maintain slightly higher hopes for the job market compared to thirty days ago. Look for unemployment to remain a hot topic in 2013, though: year-over-year; consumers look less optimistic about the pink slip situation.

- Perhaps some of those holiday gift cards are leading consumers to less practical pastures…this month, while nearly half are poised for pragmatic spending, this figure has declined three points from 30 days ago.

- New Year’s Resolution #1: Fix the Finances…in January, more than a third affirm that they plan to pay down debt and/or decrease overall spending over the next three months, rising from December as well as Jan-12 and Jan-11.

- With the annual average price of gas the highest on record in 2012, it should come as no surprise that drivers haven’t relegated this issue to the back seat…two-thirds are still affected by the pain at the pump. Drivers’ pump price prediction for the end of January is $3.52/gal, just under what was expected at the close of 2012.

- In this month’s retail roundup: In Women’s Clothing, Kohl’s bests Walmart for January, while the big discounter seems to be thisclose to losing the top spot in Shoes as well…stay tuned. Amazon proves it’s the biggest-freight-train-that-could in Electronics, nearly doubling customer share Y-O-Y. And, in an interesting development in Health & Beauty: it appears that 2013 could be a battle between Target and Walgreens…

- Evidence of a holiday hangover? With the gift-giving season in the rearview, consumers take a downward approach to spending compared to December.

- It’s blue skies ahead for vacationers in this month’s BIG Ticket, as 6 month purchase intentions for vacation travel have increased M-O-M and Y-O-Y.

- Not only is Amazon’s the world’s largest online retailer, but it’s the hottest as well…nearly four out of five consumers voted Amazon what’s hot in January. Plus: “Made in America” products, exercise/going to the gym, Super Bowl XLVII, and Walmart.

Our monthly Consumer Snapshot video analysis of the State of the Consumer for 2013 will be released tomorrow, January 16. This special edition includes quick insights on the five things you need to know about consumers in the New Year. To sign up to be a BIGinsight™ VIP and receive our Consumer Snapshot email notification, please click here.

And, to view the Snapshot Summary in its entirely: January 2013.

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2013, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development

Three Media Trends Influencing Consumers’ Apparel Purchases

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment

I’m excited to announce that I was asked to contribute to Retail Touchpoints’ 2013 Outlook Guide on behalf of BIGinsight™ and below is our article. To view the full Guide, which includes contributions from 13 retail industry experts — including well-known analysts, consultants and researchers, and one retailer – please click here.

The economic crisis that rocked our country nearly five years ago has clearly left its mark on today’s consumers. Gone are the days of excess when shoppers would spend now and worry later about paying for their purchases. The “new normal” mindset mandates that consumers think twice about their purchases, spend when necessary, and scrimp and save at every corner. While the fiscal responsibility we’re seeing now is necessary for the long-term health of our still-fragile economy, retailing as we know it has become an increasingly competitive landscape with merchants vying for a share of this shrinking wallet.

The challenge for retailers now is to attract customers, get them into their stores (or online), and keep them there through the checkout. In this new economy, it’s imperative that retailers create marketing communications plans that integrate both new media and more traditional outlets in a manner that speaks to their core customers effectively and efficiently. With this in mind, BIGinsight identified three media trends influencing consumer purchases within the very competitive apparel category.

The Waning Influence of Traditional Media

While consumers indicate that the top ten types of media that influence their apparel purchases are of the more traditional variety, half of these media have declined in influence over a two year period, while others are showing slow or no growth. With circulation rates slipping, it may come as no surprise that the effectiveness of newspapers (Index* to June 2010 = 83) and advertising inserts (Index = 85) are facing the steepest declines. Other forms of print media are suffering as well; the influence of magazines and direct mail has diminished 5% for each over a 24 month time period. Today’s budget-minded consumers appear to be keeping the influence of instore promotions and coupons afloat, while TV, email, and internet advertising have remained relatively stable as well.

Top 10 Media Influencers on Apparel Purchases

Trending UPward: Social Media, Mobile, and Blogs

While the various forms of mobile and social media don’t appear within the top ten media influencers for apparel, their pull among clothing shoppers has become much stronger over the past two years. In fact, the influence of mobile devices on apparel purchases has increased 130% over June 2010! Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has increased nearly 40%, while blogs (Index* to June 2010 = 140), videos on mobile devices (Index = 143), and text messaging on mobile devices (Index = 133) have realized double-digit growth as well.

New Media Growth: Millennials are in the Driver’s Seat

The Millennial generation (born between 1983 and 1993) is quite literally the driving force behind the growth of influence of mobile and social media on apparel purchases. Compared to the average consumer (Adults 18+), Millennials are more than twice as likely to indicate that videos on mobile devices (Index* to Adults 18+ = 247) influence their clothing expenditures. Blogs (Index = 238) and text messages on mobile devices (Index = 213) are highly influential with this younger group of consumers, as are social media (Index = 188) and mobile devices in general (Index = 195).

While the economic downturn certainly shoulders much of the responsibility for the new consumer, we also must consider the impact of new technology as a changing force behind evolving shopper behavior. While still relatively small, the growing influence of mobile and social media on purchases cannot be ignored by retailers. Today’s smart shoppers are tapping into a wide variety of media for product information, reviews, availability, sales/promotions, and pricing. Knowing your customers and the types of media to which they adhere are key to developing a successful marketing strategy in the increasingly competitive retail environment.

To view the full 2013 Outlook Guide from Retail Touchpoints, click here.

* Index of 100 is flat, while an index of 105 [or 95] indicates that a figure is 5% higher [or lower] than the comparative figure.

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2013, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development

The IT List 2012: Other Notable Trends

The IT List 2012With a big list of 145 personalities, trends, and current events vying for a position in our Top Ten Hottest Trends for 2012, we thought we’d take a look at some of the other noteworthy findings from the past year:

Golden Girl: The top personality on our list of 145 was one of my four favorite Golden Girls, Betty White (May-12, #18). The nifty nonagenarian bested other celebs – and royals – including mom-to-be Kate Middleton (Dec-12, #31), late-blooming action star Liam Neeson (Oct-12, #40), The Avengers’ Scarlett Johansson (May-12, #44), and Las Vegas favorite Prince Harry (Sept-12, #64).

Making History: The past proves not-so-boring when paired with additive stories from the likes of Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and Hatfields & McCoys, with the History Channel (Jun-12, #12) finishing just shy of the top ten. It appears that portraying “Devil Anse” Hatfield was a boon to Kevin Costner’s stock with consumers; the veteran actor (Jun-12, #65) landed six spots ahead of Magic Mike’s Channing Tatum (Jul-12, #71) #whatistheworldcomingto?

Big at the Box Office: Among last year’s blockbusters, The Amazing Spider-Man (Jul-12, #17) seemed to be the most highly anticipated, though The Dark Knight Rises (Jul-12, #23) and Marvel’s The Avengers (May-12, #26) weren’t too far behind. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec-12, #32), Prometheus (Jun-12, #37), Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Nov-12, #51), The Hunger Games (Mar-12, #56), Total Recall (Aug-12, #58), and Skyfall (Nov-12, #59) landed a bit lower on the list.

Fashion Trends to Try: By their very nature of not appealing to most of the male portion of the population, fashion trends tend to fall a bit lower on our list, but here are the top trends consumers were willing to try in 2012: 1. Ankle Boots (Oct-12, #61), 2. Skinny Jeans (Oct-12, #76), 3. High-Low Skirts/Dresses (Aug-12, #80), 4. Jean Jackets (May-12, #82), 5. Colored Denim (Aug-12, #83). Trends to avoid? Hip-enhancing Peplum Tops (Sept-12, #144) and Elmer Fudd-like Trapper Hats (Jan-12, #143).

Not-So-Honorable Mention: At #145 on our list this year, Man Candles (Jun-12) wins the prize as the unhottest (coldest?) trend for 2012. So, it’s confirmed: guys prefer the smell of fresh cookies over mowed grass, lumber, and other icky boy stuff. #noththattheresanythingwrongwiththat

See also: The IT List: Hottest Trends for 2011

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2013, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development

The IT List: Hottest Trends for 2012

Amid reports of a ho-hum holiday season, you really have to wonder about current consumer mindset. After a strong turnout Black Friday weekend, Hurricane Sandy hit, we witnessed tragedy in Sandy Hook, while those on Capitol Hill literally left us hanging on the fiscal cliff. Retailers continued to give consumers what they really wanted – deals, deals, and more deals – but ultimately it appears that practicality and a focus on needs were at the forefront of consumers’ thoughts as we approached December 25. To top everything off, NBC revealed record ratings for its Christmas Eve showing of It’s a Wonderful Life…coincidence? Perhaps not.
 
We at BIGinsight tallied up all of the votes in the lively “Hot or Not?” segment for the whole of 2012 to see which of the 145 trends, personalities, and events really got consumers (Adults 18+) buzzing last year. And while items like holiday shopping online and the New Apple iPad landed high in the rankings, the top 10 list points to consumers focused more on what really matters:
 
#10 NFL (Sep-12)*
 

Football: America’s new favorite pastime? With its top ten ranking, the NFL is certainly giving Major League Baseball (Apr-12, #46) a run for its money. The Giants-Patriots match-up for Super Bowl XLVI (Jan-12, #19) finished within the top 20 this year; however, it was the Packers-Steelers bout in Super Bowl XLV that took top honors in this list back in 2011.

#9 New Apple iPad (Mar-12)

At #9, Apple’s third iteration of its popular iPad was the top tech gadget we polled in 2012, while the more recent releases of the Apple iPad Mini (Nov-12, #25) and Kindle Fire HD (Oct-12, #27) – which sparked the great tablet debate – ranked lower in our list overall.

#8 London Summer Olympic Games (Jul-12)

Fresh off of 2011’s royal wedding, the British invasion of sorts continued for Americans in 2012 with the London Olympic Games. Ranking higher than any other athletes on our lists, swimming superstars Michael Phelps (Aug-12, #21) and Ryan Lochte (Aug-12, #36) proved that they were certainly the pride of the yanks.

#7 Farmers’ Markets (Jul-12)

Perhaps it’s because they offer fresh fare or maybe it’s their “shop small” charm, but at #7, Farmers’ Markets were hit among consumers getting back to the basics this year, though Community Gardens (Aug-12, #81) and Gluten-free Diets (Jul-12, #106) didn’t rank quite so highly.

#6 2012 Presidential Election (Sep-12)

While those of us residing in the swing states couldn’t wait for the endless barrage of phone calls, mailers, and commercials to end, this year’s Presidential Election was certainly very important to all who exercised their right to vote.

#5 Coupons (Jun-12)

Indicative of a consumer group prioritizing budgeting, practicality, and – most importantly – saving money, Coupons scored a top five position in this year’s list. Note to retailers and manufacturers: keep ‘em coming in 2013.

#4 Voting (Nov-12)

You lose your right to complain when you don’t exercise your right to vote…right? Whether their candidate won or lost the election, Americans set precedence on voicing their opinions this year.

#3 “Made in America” Products (Jan-12)

While they may be few and far between, at #3 on our list, “Made in America” Products seem to be what consumers prefer. Or perhaps it’s logical reasoning for boosting our sagging unemployment rate

#2 Holiday Shopping Online (Dec-12)

Arguably one of the few bright spots for retailers over the past holiday season (gift cards were pretty popular as well), shopping online – whether via a traditional computer/laptop or a mobile device – just clicked with consumers this year. With free shipping offers abound, gift givers were able to skip crowded malls, long checkout lines, and stock-outs in favor of cruising the web for the big bargains, competitive pricing, and compelling customer reviews from the comfort of their couches. However, with Holiday Shopping in Stores (Dec-12) landing at #15, it appears that plenty of Santas still preferred to shop the old fashioned way.

#1 Thanksgiving (Nov-12)

While the Black Friday shopping tradition is increasingly encroaching on the fourth Thursday of November, consumers are seemingly taking a stand on the Thanksgiving holiday, placing it atop our list this year. (Giving Thanks was #2 last year.) It’s a Wonderful Life, right?

* The month/year each item was asked is denoted in parenthesis (MMM-YY).

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com as a contribution to the Prosper Now blog.

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