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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.

The Great Tablet Debate: Kindle Fire HD or Apple iPad Mini?

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

When Amazon.com introduced the Kindle Fire in 2011, it was a budget-friendly game-changer for the growing tablet market that certainly shook the Apple tree. Fast forward to holiday 2012 and Apple – facing declining market share for its once superbly dominant iPad – has responded directly to the value-priced threat (from Amazon, Google, et al.) with its own $329 entry, the iPad mini. Not to be outdone, Amazon has recently launched the upgraded Kindle Fire HD – at the still very wallet-friendly $199 price point.

Hot or Not? Kindle Fire versus Apple iPad mini

iPad mini sales are expected to exceed 5 million units this quarter, while the world’s largest online retailer touts the Kindle Fire HD as the “#1 most gifted product on Amazon.” And all of the back-and-forth between these two giants is enough to send Santa into a tizzy. With the shopping days until Christmas now numbered, let’s take a look at how the nearly 9,000 consumers we talk to each month feel about these two new tablets, courtesy of our popular “Hot or Not?” feature.

As it turns out, if you are planning on gifting either of these devices, you’re likely to make the recipient pretty happy. The majority of Adults 18+ rated the both the Kindle Fire HD (56.9%) and iPad mini (58.2%) as “hot,” though Apple’s device boasts a slight edge.

And if your recipient is a Gen X-er, you’re in luck: those born between 1965 and 1982 were the most likely to be fanning the flames on both of these “hot” tablets. Millenials followed, but expressed sentiment more in line with the general population.  The Silent generation (much like its affinity for Apple iOS) and Boomers were more likely to boost the temperature on the iPad mini, rather than the Kindle Fire HD.

The upside for Amazon? It appears that we’ve stumbled upon a new slogan: Kindle Fire HD: Not Your Grandmother’s Tablet

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

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