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One in Four McDonald’s Customers Unhappy with Their Health

February 21, 2012 4 comments

Is there a sad-faced clown behind Ronald McDonald’s smiling veneer? According to new analysis by BIGinsight™ of fast food restaurant customers*, McDonald’s patrons are the unhappiest** with their health. Conversely, Chick-fil-A diners reported being the happiest, followed by Subway and Arby’s.

Happy with Health

McDonald’s, though, doesn’t stand alone when it comes to customers at odds with their wellbeing. More than one in five Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Burger King diners also indicated they were “totally unhappy” or “unhappy” with their health.

Unhappy with Health

While McDonald’s and other burger-and-fries eateries are often lambasted for fueling America’s problems with obesity, this may not just be a case of “you are what you eat.” After all, Chick-fil-A does serve up fried chicken and those tasty waffle fries which I love to dip in mayo. Many sandwich offerings at Arby’s tip the scales at 500+ calories apiece, and at Subway, that $5 footlong will cost you much more in fat and calories when you add bacon, double cheese, and extra mayo [OK, maybe I have a mayo problem.]

The difference between fast food customers who are happier with their health, though, is that away from the drive-thru, these people are more prone to exercise [see chart], count their calories, focus on fat intake, and watch their health in general. So, waffle-fries-with-mayo is probably more like a guilty pleasure than the lunchtime norm to these patrons.

Fast Food Patrons who Exercise Regularly

Need more evidence? About three in ten McDonald’s customers say they don’t do anything with regard to their health (such as exercising; watching calories, carbs, salt or fat intake; buying organic; etc.) Burger King connoisseurs aren’t far behind with this sentiment.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

* McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, and KFC customers were analyzed for this report. “Customers” are defined as those who eat most often at a given fast food restaurant (an unaided, write-in response).

** Respondents were posed with this question: On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being “Totally Unhappy,” and 5 being “Totally Happy,” how would you rate your happiness level with your Health?

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – FEB-12 (N = 8716, 2/1 – 2/8/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

FYU: Prescription Drugs

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

As we reported in our most recent Executive Briefing, according to our Consumer Migration Index, Walgreens seems to be having a customer flow problem…as in, the drugstore’s Prescription Drug customers are flowing out its doors and to the competition. It’s time for this retail giant’s check-up, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports.

For Your Understanding this month, we’re going to look primarily at the top competitors in this category: Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. As you can see in the chart below, while Walgreens and CVS have been keeping close company for most of the past year, it’s evident that in Q4 2011 the two retailers began to tangle for the top spot in this category:

Prescription Drugs - Store Shopped Most Often

For additional insight on Walgreens and its competitors, we can turn to our latest Retail Ratings Report. Just on the first few pages of this handy guide*, we can see that:

-  CVS fills more prescriptions for consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets, while Walgreens is the top choice among those earning under $50,000.
–  There’s an occupational divide among the top three competitors. Walmart is the first pick among Labor/Blue Collar Workers, CVS is tops with White Collar/Service Workers, while Retirees and Disabled Workers head to Walgreens most often.
–  CVS bests Walgreens among customers in the 45 to 64 year old age bracket.  The two competitors are more evenly matched both among older (65+) and younger (18-44) consumers.
–  Walgreens maintains its surest footing in the Midwest and West, while CVS (and Rite Aid) rule the Northeast. CVS and Walgreens are neck-and-neck in the South (while Walmart a very close third here).

But let’s look a bit deeper with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Prescription Drugs show that Walgreens (+ others) continue to slip in a segment in which CVS shines:  those earning $50,000+/year. Here, CVS has experienced a 5% growth while Walgreens is suffering from a near 10% decline.

Prescription Drugs CEI - $50,000+ Incomes

And, if you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year (read: Walgreens’ core customer base), you would find that Walgreens’ share is remaining stagnant, but that CVS is increasingly curing customers here as well.

Now you understand: While Walgreens remains a top competitor in the Prescription Drugs category, three weaknesses are evident with just a quick glance at the latest Retail Ratings Report:

1.) Walgreens is dropping share among upper income shoppers.
2.) Walgreens is experiencing a flat/no-growth situation among its core shoppers.
3.) Walgreens is facing tougher competition in the form of CVS.

How’s that for a diagnosis?

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, JAN-11 – JAN-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Valentine’s Day 2012: Do Macy’s Shoppers Have the Biggest Hearts?

February 6, 2012 1 comment

While it looks like consumers in general are feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, new analysis by BIGinsight shows that the hearts seem to grow fondest among Macy’s shoppers. For this exclusive report, we analyzed the Valentine’s Day plans among shoppers at five major U.S. retailers: JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart (non-grocery).*

While about three in five consumers (59.4%) overall are planning to celebrate February 14 this year, this number rises among Macy’s shoppers (68.2%). Hearts are also beating a little faster among Target (64.3%) and JC Penney (63.4%) buyers, while Kohl’s and Walmart are closer to the national average.

What really sets Macy’s celebrants apart from the rest is the amount they plan to spend on the ones they love. While the average consumer is allocating $126.03 towards gifts for significant others, children, friends, pets, and others, Macy’s shoppers are allotting about 30% more: $164.67. Every other shopper group we looked at for this report is planning to spend below average:

Valentine's Day 2012: Combined Average Spending Plans

So why are Macy’s shoppers’ spending plans so robust compared to the rest of the retailers we reviewed? We found a few interesting insights here:

- Macy’s shoppers simply have more available to spend. The average yearly income of Macy’s shoppers exceeds the take home pay of the other shopper groups we looked at for this report.
Macy’s shoppers are wooing and less likely “I doing.” Macy’s (and Target) shoppers were the groups most likely to check the “Single, never married” box in the marital status portion of our survey, while JC Penney and Kohl’s shoppers were the most probable to be hitched. Come to think of it, I did receive more flowers, candy, and – most importantly – jewelry before I was married…
Sale shopping is less important to the Macy’s customers. In January, nearly one in five Macy’s shoppers reported that sales aren’t important to them when buying clothing, compared to just 9% of Kohl’s shoppers. BTW, Kohl’s customers are the most likely of these five groups to only buy clothing when on sale, probably accounting for at least part of why these deal-oriented shoppers have the most frugal Valentine’s Day budget. (Kohl’s Cash, anyone?)
Macy’s shoppers are more optimistic on matters of the economy. Nearly two in five (37.3%) Macy’s customers were very confident or confident in chances for a strong economy in January, 20%+ higher than general population (30.4%). Confidence among Kohl’s, JC Penney, and Walmart shoppers indexed below average, and as we all [should] know, low confidence does not spur spending.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

And, click to view the original National Retail Federation press release: Americans to Pull Out All the Stops This Valentine’s Day.

* “Shoppers” are defined as respondents who indicated that they shopped a retailer most often for at least one major merchandise category (including Women’s, Men’s, or Children’s Apparel, Shoes, Electronics, Heath & Beauty Care, etc.), unless otherwise noted. Shopper groups analyzed in this report are not mutually exclusive.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp

Consumers’ Hot/Not Predictions for 2012? To the [Word] Cloud!

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Consumers Hot/Not Predictions for 2012? To the [Word] Cloud!

In our January survey, along with the list of items consumers rated “Hot” or “Not,” we asked respondents to name the  trends or personalities they thought would be Hot or Not throughout 2012. Posed as an open-ended question, we received a variety of answers, which I am excited to share with you today!

Much of the feedback we received could be classified into one of the five main “trend” groups. Here’s a sampling:

One respondent's astute prediction for 2012.

The Political:

“2012 Presidential Election”
“Employment and Healthcare”
“Getting rid of career politicians”
“The political climate”

The Economical:

“A Job”
“American Made Goods”
“DIY Home Remodeling”
“Couponing”
“Going back to ‘old school’ way of life”
“Saving money”

The Fashionable:

“90s styles and music with make a comeback”
“Animal prints”
“Bright Colors”
“Colored Jeans”

The Pop Cultural:

“Angelina Jolie”
“Definitely the Kardashians (Not)”
“Duchess Kate”
“Geeks will continue to be popular on TV!”
“More dumb reality shows”

The Technological:

“3D TVs”
“Apple products”
“Electric cars”
“Faster, cheaper smartphones”
“Tablets will continue their rule!!”

Of course, I’d like to throw in my personal favorite: “Abraham Lincoln will rise from the grave to hunt vampires.” [LOVED that book!]

But with write-ins for 9,000+ respondents a little daunting to sift through thoroughly, we loaded consumers’ predictions for the 2012 Hot [or Not] Trends into Wordle and extracted this fun word “cloud”:

From skinny jeans to new technology, from Tim Tebow to the Kardashians, and from the Obamas to the economy, consumers named a wide variety of sure-to-be-talked-about topics for 2012. Click to enlarge.

Do you get the picture?

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

5 Facts You Need to Know About the 2012 Consumer

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

For the first BIG Call of the New Year, I had the privilege of presenting our new January data with Dr. Marianne Bickle, director of the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina and author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Changing American Consumer (written in cooperation with the Prosper Foundation).

This month, we discussed the 5 Fact You Need to Know About the 2012 Consumer:

1. Consumer Confidence is Questionable: Back in January 2007, 50.5% of consumers were very confident or confident in the chances for a strong economy. Our current level of confidence is 40% below that heyday, and we really haven’t made any headway on confidence as it compares to when we were weathering the recession.

2. Economic Rebound is Becoming Less Realistic: This month, we found that about a third of consumers are positive that the economy will rebound to its pre-recession glory. That’s down a couple of points from last year’s reading, but represents a full 20% decline from January 2010. More consumers today have a pessimistic take on any potential bounceback or just view our economic situation with a big question mark.

3. Budgeting is BIG: A couple of times a year, we ask consumers if they think that the current economic crisis will impact their lifestyles over the next 5 years. This month, the top lifestyle impact was sticking to a budget, which edged out considering purchases more carefully and becoming more price conscious when shopping for food and clothing (the latter two had been slightly more popular for the past two January readings.)

4. Practicality is Rising, while Impulse Spending is Declining: Over the past five years, practicality has been steadily increasing. This month, nearly 50% indicated that they were pragmatic in their purchases, up almost 10 points from five years ago. Those focused on needs over wants – and thus less focused on immediate impulse buys – follow this same trend, only on a slightly higher plane. This month, about three in five are only focused on the necessities when at the store, much higher than the 48.5% who said the same in January 2007.

5. Targeted Spending Hits the Bull’s-Eye: While spending may be perking up from the heart of the recession, we certainly aren’t seeing a recovery in spending…but that doesn’t mean that consumers have clamped their wallets shut. BIG Ticket purchase plans over the next six months for items like Autos, Computers, Furniture, Mobile Devices, and TVs, have improved from one year ago.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

P.S. Dr. Marianne Bickle is also a regular contributor on our Prosper Now Blog on Forbes.com. Click over to read her latest entry, JCPenney’s Consumers Voice Opinions Regarding Sales.

For more information on this data or for release information on The Changing American Consumer, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Generation Gap: Gen Y Says Super Bowl is for Socialization

January 27, 2012 1 comment

Let’s get ready to…chat it up? That’s right, according to our latest Super Bowl data (conducted by BIGinsight for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association), Gen Y is the generation most likely to view the big game as, well, as big party.  Here are the segments we took a look at for this special analysis:

Silent (born 1945 or earlier)
Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)
Gen X (born 1965 – 1982)
Gen Y (born 1983 – 1993)

Before I get ahead of myself, I would like to clarify: among Gen Y-ers planning to watch the Super Bowl, two in five (40.4%) still said the game was most important to them. It’s just that a much larger proportion of these youngsters (25.6%) indicated that getting together with friends was the priority, particularly when compared to Silents (14.9%) and Boomers (15.0%). Slightly more Gen X-ers (19.4%) consider the Super Bowl a social event.

Interestingly, among both of the younger generations, the combined viewers who are into the Super Bowl for the commercials or to get together with friends eclipse the percentage of those who watch for the game itself. The opposite is true for Silents and Boomers: the match-up on the field is more important than all the other “benefits” combined.

Here are some other fun facts about celebrating Super Bowl Sunday:
– Gen Y-ers (42.9%) are the most likely to attend a party that day, double the number of Boomers (21.5%).
– The Gen X group is the most probable to host a party (23.1%), just edging out Gen Y (21.8%). Just a small fraction of Silents (3.1%) are sending out invites.
– Bring on the taco dip! Eight in ten (79.9%) Gen X-ers are planning to buy food/beverages for game day, slightly more than Gen Y (76.6%) and Boomers (70.7%).
– File this under ironic: Although the least likely to vote the game as the most important aspect of Super Bowl Sunday, 16.6% of those in Gen Y plan to show their team spirit by buying new apparel or accessories, more than any other generation.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

UPDATE: RAMA’s Executive Director Mike Gatti name his picks for the Top 5 Super Bowl Ads: Goosebumps, giggles and gadgets: Mike Gatti’s top 5 Super Bowl commercials.

And, click to view the original RAMA press release: Record Number of Americans to Celebrate Super Bowl This Year with Plans to Spend $11 Billion

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Timeline: What’s behind consumers’ gloomy outlook in the New Year?

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

In the past three years, Americans have lost confidence that the economy will make a full recovery. This year, 32.3% think the economy can rebound fully, an 8% drop from 35.1% who said so in January 2011 and a whopping 35% drop from the 49.7% who said so back in March 2009.

Why so gloomy, America?

Taking a look at the Vital Signs of the nation as well as a timeline of major economic events, you can really see the picture unfold (if only pictures were worth $1,000…oh wait, stimulus plans don’t help!)    

Three major instances occurred in the past 3 years that can shed some light on the dim view Americans’ have on the economy, and perhaps one can bring hope:

  • April, 2010 – BP Oil Spill– Although gas prices didn’t skyrocket after this event, pump prices have certainly continued to rise as the U.S. struggles to find cheaper ways to obtain fuel without threatening the environment (sorry Keystone XL pipeline). In January 2012, 73.1% say gas prices impact their spending. How are these consumers coping? Taking fewer shopping trips (40.8% say they do this in Jan 12) and shopping closer to home (also 40.8%) appear to correlate directly with the price of gas, implying that consumers have removed “joy ride” from their vocabulary.

    Click to Enlarge

  • October, 2009 – Unemployment Above 10% – This number was simply unheard of in a “healthy” economy, and after economists reported that the recession had ended in July, this simply made no sense. Currently, more than 1 in 4 (27.0%) is worried about more layoffs in the next 6 months while 51.0% expect the same. The “same” still means roughly 8.5% unemployment.
  • January 2009 – President Obama Inaugurated – In March 2009, nearly half (49.7%) believed the economy would rebound to its happy pre-recession days. Since then, this number has dropped considerably, as previously mentioned. Those with faith in recovery have increased only slightly since this past summer (2011), and there is a likely cause: another election is approaching! Optimism for rebound peaked shortly after an inaugural address in 2009 – can it do the same in 2013?

Only time will tell how Americans will feel after choosing a Commander in Chief – but feel free to keep an eye on them until then! Be sure to check out the Vital Signs InsightCenter™ for the latest consumer views on the economy, including a unique timeline of major events!

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey, JAN-09-JAN-12
© 2012, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development.

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