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New November Insights in a Snap!

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

This month’s Consumer Snapshot is ready! The video below is a concise look at a few trending topics for the month of November, designed to give you a BIG picture view of current consumers.

Here’s a brief overview of what we’re seeing from consumers in November 2012:

- Confidence reaches a five year high
- With the holiday season on the horizon, it appears that consumers are in a gifting mood
- With the majority planning to begin holiday purchasing before December, the tightwad tendencies we’ve seen over the past few months have begun to relax
- Payless advances to the co-leader position in Shoes
- Walmart trumps Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s in Organics
- 90 Day Outlook: Mixed from October, UP from Nov-11, Nov-10
- I hope Santa blings me something sparkly
- What’s Hot…Giving thanks for Black Friday?


Be sure to check out the NEW Consumer Snapshot InsightCenter™. When you register for complimentary access to this InsightCenter™, you’ll have the ability to segment an advance preview of our all-star insights on consumer confidence, employment, shopping strategies, and future purchase plans by several key demographic groups. You can also download this month’s text summary (which includes additional insights) as well as the PowerPoint analysis through this InsightCenter™.

Interested in becoming a BIG VIP? Please click here to sign up for access to a host of complimentary insights, from our briefings and webinars to press releases and more.

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

New September Insights in a Snap!

September 18, 2012 1 comment

This month, we’ve introduced the Consumer Snapshot – a concise look at a few trending topics for the month of September, designed to give you a BIG picture view of current consumers.

In this month’s video analysis, we’re examining consumer confidence, practical spending and personal finances, and the pain at the pump. And, we wrap things up with a peek at Holiday 2012 spending plans.

This month’s video is below, but you can also click over to our full version for a short text summary as well as the link to this month’s complimentary PowerPoint analysis.

 

Interested in becoming a BIG VIP? Please click here to sign up for access to a host of complimentary insights, from our briefings and webinars to press releases and more.

To view the latest BIG Consumer Snapshot in its entirely: September 2012.

Source: BIGinsight.com

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp

Fresh Consumer Insights via Video – August 2012

For those of you who may have missed our latest Executive Briefing, we just wanted to let you know that you still have a chance to get up-to-date on the latest consumer trends via our Video Briefing!

That’s right…in just 5 minutes, we’ll educate you on what you need to know about confidence, consumer spending, unemployment, and retail. Simply click play below to view our latest insights from our Monthly Consumer Survey:

Interested in becoming a BIG VIP? Please click here to sign up for access to a host of complimentary insights, from our briefings and webinars to press releases and more.

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – AUG-12 (N = 9426, 8/1 – 8/7/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Consumers: Employment Won’t Improve for Another 2+ Years

While Back-to-School spending buoyed this year and the outlook for Holiday 2012 just *might* be cautiously optimistic, the unemployment rate still seems to be the sticking point between consumers and that “recovery” word.

Those of us “in the know” are aware that the official U.S. unemployment rate remained a discouraging 8.3% for July (not accounting for the underemployed or discouraged workers, of course). What might a spouse, sibling, or parent tell you about the state of the job market though? Your dentist? Your child’s teacher? John [or Jane] Q. Public? If you aren’t tracking this rate on a continuous basis, you would probably be more apt to respond that or the unemployment rate is “high” or the employment situation is “bad.”

In fact, when we asked the more than 3,000 consumers in our latest American Pulse™ survey what they believed to be the current U.S. unemployment rate, respondents’ answers averaged 11.6%. While most consumers (54.4%) felt that the rate was somewhere between 8% and 10%, nearly one out of five (a whopping 18.9%) estimates that the rate is higher than 15%, which is more in line with the Bureau of Statistics’ much less publicized U-6 rate of unemployment.

When do you think the current employment situation will start to improve?So we’ve established that consumers think the unemployment rate is “high,” but how “bad” do they perceive the employment situation to be? According to our latest insights for August, nearly three out of ten (27.7%) believe it will take more than 2 years for the job market to improve. Fewer place bets on 7-12 months (17.3%), 13-18 months (15.8%), or 19 months to 2 years (16.3%), while just 7.8% optimistically assert that the employment situation has already improved.

Among the generations, Gen Y is the group most likely to view the outlook for employment with rose colored glasses; in fact, more than one in ten born between 1983 and 1993 is anticipating improvement in the job market within the next three months. [Holiday hiring season anyone?] The Boomer (born 1946-1964) and Silent (born before 1946) generations maintain a more long-term stance on improving employment, with about a third in each group looking beyond two years from now. Gen X (born 1965 – 1982) is more likely to follow the opinions of the general public.

When do you think the current employment situation will start to improve?

Now while these insights are interesting, why are they important? Employment remains THE key issue when it comes to discussing the slow growth and recovery of the U.S. economy. Whether on a micro (i.e. personal job security) or macro (i.e. overall economic health) level, doubt in the employment environment breeds uncertain and hesitant spending patterns among consumers. If they fear the pink slips, they’ll snap their wallets shut. If they think they’ll go another year or two or three without a raise or promotion, they’ll think twice about upgrading their homes or cars or about taking a vacation. It’s the retailers, marketers, and advertisers who are attuned to consumers’ concerns that will be better positioned to react and adapt to these realities as the economy sputters toward a long-awaited recovery.

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

Latest Consumer Insights: August 2012

Early each month, we release our Executive Briefing – complimentary topline insights from our latest Monthly Consumer Survey of more than 8,000 consumers.

And, we’ve just released our latest edition for August. Here’s what you may have missed:

- Economic sentiment climbs for a second consecutive month. This month’s reading was up a point from July and increased 65% from Aug-11…WHAT?! Recall that the debt ceiling crisis reached a fever pitch this time a year ago; as a result, confidence in the economy plummeted to its lowest point in more than two years. While this month’s reading is a step in the right direction, it remains well below pre-recession Aug-07.

- With the official U.S. unemployment rate failing to improve for yet another month, July’s relatively bullish outlook for hiring fades in August. Trepidation about personally becoming laid off continues to be evident this month.

- The slight boost in confidence this month has the opposite effect on practical purchasing tendencies. Will this trend continue? Don’t bet on it…as we approach the autumn months, shoppers may begin to pull back as they start bracing themselves for holiday spending.

- With national average gas prices creeping back up into the upper $3/gal range over the past month, you can expect smart shopping strategies to continue among the nearly three-quarters who say they’ve been impacted by the pain at the pump. Drivers are anticipating an average pump price of $3.76/gal by August 30, $0.30 higher than their forecast for the close of July ($3.46/gal).

- Are shoppers turning to EDLP when it comes to buying clothing? This month, 16.0% indicated that “sales aren’t important to me” when purchasing apparel, increasing from Aug-11 and Aug-10. However with the vast majority either “usually” or “only” buying clothing on sale, retailers ought to be prepared for bargain-hunting Back-to-School shoppers this month.

- Foot Locker gets its kicks again in Shoes this month, with the specialty store once again bumping JC Penney out of the Top 5 for this category.

- When it comes to the reasons why shoppers choose a particular store most often for Groceries, it’s the usual suspects: price, location, selection, and quality. But divide the rationale by the type of store shopped, and you’ll see additional interesting reasons to shop…

- Is this Back-to-Shopping season? With school nearly in session, popular categories like Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Health & Beauty Aids, and Electronics are looking UPward over the next 90 days, according to the BIGinsight™ Diffusion Index.

- While Michael Phelps is certainly golden in the pool, he’s a bit like a fish out of water compared to back-to-school shopping…plus: sales tax holidays, Ryan Lochte, and colored denim

To sign up to receive the monthly BIGinsight™ Executive Briefing, please click here.

And, to view the latest BIG Executive Briefing in its entirely: August 2012.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – AUG-12 (N = 9426, 8/1 – 8/7/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

The New Normal, According to Consumers

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

As Consumer Insights Director, I have been working with the vast amount of insights we gather for an entire decade. And, it’s been interesting to see how consumers have evolved over this time span: from their embrace of online shopping (seen in full effect for Back-to-School this year) to the “spend now, worry later” mantra voiced by many before the burst of the housing bubble burst and subsequent meltdown on Wall Street. Even post-recession, consumers are adapting to the times, couponing at every corner, working within budgets, fattening up their piggy banks, and becoming attached at the hip to their favorite social media sites. And who really thought that – even as little as just a few years ago – that the term “mobile exclusivity” would enter our vocabulary?

Most certainly, a lot has changed in ten years.

While the advent of m-commerce might be a close second, I would argue that the clear turning post for consumer behavior during the last decade came with the “Great Recession.” Shoppers went from “spend now, worry later” to an “abort spending, worry, worry, worry” mindset. Holiday 2008 was an absolute disaster for most retailers, and, to this day, they are still trying to coax shoppers back in their stores. According to some of our latest insights, consumer confidence continues to trend below an ideal range, employment – or rather, unemployment – remains a chief concern, while decreasing overall spending is a financial priority to an increasing number of consumers.

Think about that last statement for a bit. The lagging consumer confidence, weak outlook for employment, and spending cutbacks we’re seeing currently applied to the 2009 consumer…and the 2010 consumer…even those in 2011. This persistent drought of positive economic news over the past several years has changed consumers’ approach to spending. Are frugal consumers the “new normal”?

If the economy continues at this lackluster pace, you betcha.

This month, we asked 8,500 U.S. consumers if they thought the economy would ever rebound to what it was before the economic crisis, and the results were fairly well divided: just over a third were hopeful for a rebound, while nearly as many either aren’t on the rebound bandwagon or are simply unsure.

Why is it important to get shoppers’ perspective on the matter? Doubt in the economy brews uncertainty and hesitation toward consumer spending. With two-thirds of Americans feeling pessimistic or indecisive about an economic rebound, we’re likely to continue to see heavy coupon usage, a strong focus on budgets, further attempts at debt reduction, targeted spending, price comparisons – smart shopping strategies executed by well-informed consumers (who have been made all the more knowledgeable by the recent rise of mobile devices).

Translation: if consumers are going to spend their hard earned money, they are going to make every dollar count.

It’s also important to note that with the economy flatlining over the past four years, optimism for a rebound has been waning among consumers. Back in July 2009, more than two in five were confident that the economy would bounce back to its pre-recession glory; the current figure represents a 20%+ drop from this point in time. On the upside, though, with the debt ceiling crisis looming back in July 2011, consumers harbored their worst feelings toward a rebound, so at least we’ve made some improvement versus a year ago:

So what’s a retailer to do? It’s all about the CONSUMER. Knowing who your shoppers are, what they are planning or willing to buy, and adjusting your merchandising mix, marketing strategy, and inventory levels accordingly will likely help you weather this economic maelstrom. And you might find that you have to chart a new course to ensure your long-term sustainability.

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

Back-to-School Overview + New Consumer Trends for July

July 26, 2012 1 comment

Our very special guest contributor this month on the BIG Call was Ellen Davis, Senior Vice President at the National Retail Federation and Executive Director for the NRF Foundation.

July is an exciting month for the NRF and BIGinsight, as this is the time of year we collect and release a fresh batch of insights on the Back-to-School shopping season. 2012 marks the tenth season of our partnership on Back-to-School insights – a milestone!

In her portion of the Call, Ellen delivered an interesting view of what we can expect from Back-to-School shoppers this year and what this means to retailers. Specifically, she addressed:

- The Economy: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going
- Back to School, Back to College 2012
- Economy Remains Top of Mind
- What’s Different This Year
- Retailers’ Recipe for Success
- Holiday Implications

And to kick off the Call, I gave a snapshot of consumers overall, including economic sentiment, employment outlook, practical purchasing, our 90 Day Outlook as well as a special preview of Holiday 2012 spending plans.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

For the full, complimentary July 2012 BIG Call slide deck, please click here.

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUL-12 (N = 8509, 7/2 – 7/9/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Fresh Consumer Insights for July

July 17, 2012 3 comments
BIGinsight Executive Briefing - July 2012

Click to view the July 2012 BIGinsight Executive Briefing.

Early each month, we release our Executive Briefing – complimentary topline insights from our latest Monthly Consumer Survey of more than 8,000 consumers.

And, we’ve just released our latest edition for July. Here’s what you may have missed:

- Economic sentiment perked up from June, though consumers failed to set off any fireworks compared to years past. This month’s reading (32.8%) looks a little stagnant when placed in longer-term perspective – and well below Jul-07’s pre-recession figure of 47.8%.

- Workers show signs of concern for personal job security. 4.2% admitted they were anxious about becoming laid off, up from last month as well as one year ago.

- With the campaign season about to hit full throttle, consumers seem to be bracing for the onslaught of political propaganda. Overall, though, consumers seem a little less apprehensive this Presidential go-around they did during the 2008 McCain vs. Obama election. Plus: how would you score in a Presidential Pop Quiz?

- The uptick in consumer confidence this month may be leading a few shoppers off the practicality platform. Before you start thinking “spending rebound,” though, keep this in mind: practicality remains well above the sensible shopping tendencies we witnessed before the Great Recession.

- July pump price prediction: $3.49/gal, 25 cents below the forecast for the end of June ($3.75/gal). For more on this topic: Pain at the Pump: Who (or What) is Controlling Pump Prices?

- A bit of Christmas cheer might be in store for retailers: one in ten says they plan to spend more on gifts this year, up from 6.5% in Jul-11.

- Was JC Penney’s Fair & Square strategy a gift to Macy’s in Women’s Clothing? For the sixth consecutive month, Macy’s bests JC Penney in this category, though Kohl’s and Walmart continue to lead overall.

- In the well-documented Shoe Wars, one retailer is M.I.A. in July. Yes, that’s right (and you heard it here first)…JC Penney (now #6) has been bounced from the Top 5 by Foot Locker.

- 90 Day Outlook: Back-to-School (i.e. Children’s Clothing) looks to be a bright spot in consumers’ spending plans. However, with the majority of categories facing DOWNward compared to June, revenues may fizzle instead of sizzle as we make our way through summer.

- What’s Hot? Farmers’ fresh fare beats out Spider-Man, Dark Knight.

To sign up to receive the monthly BIGinsight™ Executive Briefing, please click here.

And, to view the latest BIG Executive Briefing in its entirely: July 2012.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUL-12 (N = 8509, 7/2 – 7/9/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Generation Gap: Holiday 2012 Spending Preview

July 11, 2012 6 comments

Christmas in July?

With the Back-to-School shopping season just around the corner (or already here according to some of the ad circulars I received over the weekend), we’ll soon be looking ahead to that all-important holiday shopping season. And while spending specifics are still a little off on the horizon, we queried the 8500 consumer respondents in our July Monthly Survey about the direction they anticipated their holiday gift budgets to take for 2012: north, south, or even keel from the previous year.

While nearly three out of ten (28.1%) admitted that it was too early to tell, among those with a budget in mind, 10.2% are planning to spend more this year compared to last (up from 6.5% in Jul-11). Before you start ringing those jingle bells, though, keep in mind that the vast majority of shoppers plans to spend at (46.3%) or below (43.4%) their 2011 gifting budgets. Of course, holiday 2012 spending plans vary by generation*, which brings me to the subject of this post.

Among shoppers with spending expectations in mind, it appears that Gen Y will be the most generous this year compared to last. Nearly one in five (17.9%) of these youngsters is planning to spend more on gifts this year; this figure declines as age increase, with just 1.1% of the Grinches Silent generation boosting their budgets this year. Perhaps it’s the holiday excitement felt among Gen Y – and even Gen X – which lends itself to Santa-like spending outlooks this year.

Based on your present situation and feelings toward the economy, which of the following best describes your plans for the December Holiday Season?

Among shoppers in general planning to spend less, three out of five (58.9%) stated that they were simply going to cut budgets across the board. A large proportion is also planning to buy gifts only on sale (41.3%) or do more comparison shopping (33.5%) – so it looks like mobile devices may play key roles for these shoppers this year. #showrooming

You said you were planning to spend less on holiday gifts this year, which of the following are you doing?

Plans for spending less become all the more interesting when we look at this data divvied up by generation:

Not on Sale? Not for Me: Boomers (45.6%) and Silents (43.7%) are the most likely to scrimp on budgets by only buying on sale. Gen Y (35.9%) is the least likely to be swayed into saving using this method.

Pause My Purchase, Please: One out of ten of those in Gens X (9.6%) and Y (10.9%) are curbing gift budgets by utilizing layaway a bit earlier this year. This number drops with advancing age; just 3.9% of the Silent group plans to put gift purchases on hold.

This is Pinteresting: Nearly three out of ten (29.4%) Gen Y-ers plan to pinch the pennies by making homemade gifts. Gen X indexed on average, while Boomers and Silents are less likely to do so. Perhaps this social media site is inspiring more DIY-ers among the younger generation?

Stay tuned…the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be pretty interesting this year.

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

* Generations were defined for this analysis in the following manner:

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUL-12 (N = 8509, 7/2 – 7/9/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Fresh Consumer Insights via Video

For those of you who may have missed our latest Executive Briefing or our monthly BIG Call, we just wanted to let you know that you still have a chance to get up-to-date on the latest consumer trends via our Video Briefing!

That’s right…in just 5 minutes, we’ll educate you on what you need to know about confidence, consumer spending, unemployment, and retail. Simply click the play button below to view our latest insights from our Monthly Consumer Survey:


Interested in becoming a BIG VIP? Click here to sign up for access to a host of complimentary insights, from our briefings and webinars to press releases and more!

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUN-12 (N = 8760, 6/5 – 6/12/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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