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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.

Shopping Organically: I Wish I Could Be a California Girl

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I left my husband and an Ohio snowstorm behind for this view...

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit Santa Monica for a few days with my sister. Given that I had never been west of the Grand Canyon – as well as the fact that this meant abandoning Ohio in the middle of January – this trip was quite the treat. Aside from the fantastic shopping, one of the other key memories I retain from our four day excursion was this city’s focus on healthy living. The walking, the biking, the running, the surfing, the oceanside weight lifting, the Pinkberry…and that fantastic Third Street Promenade Farmer’s Market.

When we polled consumers on Organic Products for our February survey, I got to wondering if the impression of the healthier lifestyle I got in Santa Monica was a marketplace reality. So, is any one census region more likely than the others to embrace Organic Products (and the [arguably] greater health benefits that come along with them)?

According to this month’s survey, two in five Adults 18+ (60.0%) indicate that they regularly or occasionally purchase Organic Products. This figure increases to nearly seven in ten adults living out West, the highest among the four Census Regions [see chart]. So appears that there is at least some truth to the rumor that I have been spreading in this very blog. Northeasterners are about average when it comes to buy Organic, Southerners are slightly below, and we Midwesterners are the least likely to shop the big O [“O” as in Organic…of course].

Regularly or Occasionally Buy Organic Products, by Census Regions

The Western states are also home to more consumers who are committed Organic buyers; 14.1% of these residents purchase these products “regularly.” In fact, this figure is 60%+ higher than those in the Midwest who buy “regularly” (8.6%). In the South and Northeast, shoppers are more likely to trend along the nationwide average of about 12%.

Interestingly, the Organic products actually purchased don’t vary too widely among the census regions. Shoppers across the U.S. are most likely to purchase Organic Produce, followed by Dairy Products, Breads, Meat & Poultry, Juices, and Cereals. Though given the more regional nature of the grocery industry, the retailers preferred for Organics do vary across our country’s four quadrants. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are shopped most often in the West and Northeast, while Walmart and Kroger are favorites in the Midwest and South:

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

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.

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