Archive

Posts Tagged ‘monthly consumer survey’

Does Exercise Incite Positive Thoughts about the Economy?

The positive effects that regular exercise can have on our health and stress levels are well-documented; I personally enjoy the solitary time on my elliptical each morning reading Twilight The Changing American Consumer on my Kindle. But can breaking a sweat help boost economic confidence?

According to our August Consumer survey, 35.2% of those who regularly hit the gym [or pound the pavement?] are “confident” or “very confident” in chances for a strong economy, indexing slightly above the overall average (34.0%). Among those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle, confidence was subpar (33.3%).

Exercisers are also prone to more positive thinking regarding the employment outlook. Nearly one in five (19.5%) is calling for “fewer” layoffs over the next six months, higher than the overall average (16.9%) as well as their couch potato counterparts (15.4%). Exercisers aren’t as likely to be sweating increasing layoffs, either; about one in four (26.7%) is expecting “more” layoffs, indexing below adults in general (27.6%) as well as non-exercisers (28.1%).

But while exercisers are making more positive predictions for the economy, they are adopting more realistic, financially conservative lifestyles. This month, half (50.7%) of those who work out regularly say they have become more practical in their purchasing, 28% higher than those preferring less active lifestyles (39.4%). Focus on necessities, sticking to budgets, and spending more time with the family are priorities to a higher proportion of those tending toward toning compared to those who, well, are not.

Exercisers are also making sure that their finances are in shape as well; nearly two in five (38.8%) maintains plans to decrease overall spending in the next three months, much higher than those leaning toward lounging (28.4%). We see nearly the same disparities when comparing plans to pay down debt and increase savings:

Also noteworthy: interest in exercising began accelerating when the economy hit the skids. In August 2007, fewer than one in three (30.5%) reported that they were working out regularly, while the economy prospered with a 43.9% confidence rate. Fast forward to 2012, and more are exercising (36.5%) while confidence has dropped to 34.0%:

Is the economic downturn/exercise upturn a just coincidence? Have we been turning to exercise to help alleviate some of the macro-environmental stress brought about by the Great Recession?

Or given the information deluge we’ve experienced via the online, mobile, and social media, have we just become more aware of the benefits of building up a sweat? More motivated?

Or with the growing number of baby boomers entering retirement, is a larger proportion of the population trying to stave off aging?

Or in this economy, is going for a run simply cheaper than dinner-and-a-movie?

Maybe we’ve just become tired of asking, “Do I look fat in this?”

Check out our other blogs on the topic of health and exercise:

One in Four McDonald’s Customers Unhappy with Their Health

Two-Thirds of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Shoppers Express Health Happiness

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

© 2012, Prosper®

Pain at the Pump: Gas Price Impact Update

After learning about how gas price expectations impact behavior, what changes consumers are making as a result, and who they believe is in control, I thought we could take it back to basics this month and dig into where the impact stands today. We know that confidence is up slightly this month but not looking stellar compared to previous years, and the economy continues to play a big role in back-to-school spending plans.  Are pump prices still a pain or are they becoming a slightly more manageable ache? We turn to the Consumer Vital Signs InsightCenter™ to get our answer.

For the third consecutive month, the average gas price* in the U.S. has declined, dropping from $4/gallon in April to $3.42 in July. After hearing about $5/gallon forecasts, $3.42 doesn’t seem so bad. Following suit, the percentage of consumers being impacted by gas prices has declined from 76.3% in April to 71.5% in July, nearly 15 points lower than the 86.0% of Adults 18+ who were being impacted in June of ’08 when the price per gallon was $4.03.

*The average gas price is for the first week of each month to correspond with when the survey is being conducted.

This still means, though, that the majority of consumers are being impacted by fluctuating gas prices and changing their spending habits as a result. After paying $3.25/gallon last week and feeling like I was getting a deal, I quickly came to realize that notion was absurd; $3.25 per gallon is still a lot of money when you remember a day when prices were less than $1/gallon. It seems the majority tends to agree.

While driving less often continues to be the most popular (and logical) habit to conserve fuel, this is down from last year (45.8% in Jul-11 to 41.0% in Jul-12). Reducing dining out, decreasing vacation, spending less on clothing, delaying major purchases, and spending less on groceries are also all down from last year among Adults 18+. Carpooling, however, has seen a very small increase from 7.6% in Jul-11 to 8.3% in Jul-12.

So, is consumers’ pain at the pump excruciating or just a slight annoyance? With the large majority of consumers still being impacted by fluctuating gas prices, it does still seem to cause them a bit of pain. However, Anxiety at the Pump may be a more appropriate name for this ongoing blog. After feeling the pinch of $4/gallon in the midst of the Great Recession, there is always the fear that those prices will become part of the New Normal in the uncertain world we now live in. We may never go back to the days of not being conscious of how much gas we’re using.

To keep updated on fluctuating gas prices and other ways consumers are being impacted, register for the Consumer Vital Signs InsightCenter.

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.

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.

Hot Dog! July 4th Cookouts Expected to Cost a Little Less This Year

BIGinsight Independence Day Cookout InfographicWith Independence Day falling on a Wednesday this year, our family observed the holiday with a cookout held over the weekend. Typically, this occasion is pot luck, and because I’ll try any recipe involving chocolate, I was planning to bake up a batch of Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies [don’t these look yummy?!] Unfortunately, a sudden summer storm knocked out our power over the weekend, and I had to resort to Plan B: a couple of bags of Mike-Sells and some deli potato salad.

While I certainly hope that the other 160 million patriots celebrating their Independence with a cookout, barbeque or picnic do so with a little more, uh, gas, it’s evident that we will all have something to look forward to: the average price of a July 4th cookout is projected to be a little lower this year.

Despite consumers’ concerns with rising food prices, the average cost of an Independence Day picnic is down a few dollars to $59.14 (from $61.16 in 2011). This translates into a $2.4 billion in cookout-related spending for celebrants collectively…that’s a lot of coleslaw!

Estimated Total Spend for July 4th Cookouts

While the prices of charcoal and lighter fluid look to be on this rise for 2012, it appears that grocers are relying on select loss leaders to draw customers to their stores. In particular, we found that hot dogs and American cheese seem to be sparking savings. Knowing how practical consumers continue to be, though, I’d expect ad circulars, coupons, and even mobile devices to play key roles as shoppers seek out the best prices for their cookout supplies.

Other 4th of July insights this year (collected for the National Retail Federation):
– 115 million people will “ooh” and “aah” over fireworks displays, up from 105 million in 2011
– Nearly 36 million are planning to attend a parade
– About 30 million will hit the road and travel for the holiday
– 137 million proudly fly their American flags

Enjoy a happy and safe 4th!

Click here for complimentary infographic and cookout-related report.

Click here to view the original release from the National Retail Federation: Fireworks, BBQs in high demand this Independence Day

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.

Will 2012 Mark the Return of the Great American Vacation?

Planning a Summer Vacation (Three Year Trend)With nearly 30 million Americans hitting the road for the Independence Day holiday, we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at what other vacation plans consumers had in store for the summer – if any. For the past three years, we’ve been asking the nearly 9,000 respondents in our Monthly Consumer Survey whether they are taking some time off over the next few months [which I would deem necessary for my sanity] and, if so, how much they plan to spend in comparison to the previous year’s outing. So let’s pile into the Family Truckster and see where this data takes us.

This year, nearly a third of consumers (31.7%) plans to take a summer vacation. While this number may seem a little low, it’s important to remember that:

a. Confidence in the economy as well as the job market remain shaky [at best]

b. This still represents an improvement over the vacation plans for the past two summers

Summer vacation plans are the strongest among those under 44, presumably because those are the households most likely to be catering to children. [Hello, Walleyworld Disney World!] Nearly two in five (38.5%) of those 25 to 34 are booking summer outings, while a third of those 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 are making plans. Adults 45 to 54 are the least likely to be enjoying a little fun in the sun over the next few months; these consumers, though, might be feeling a little strapped with college tuitions, squirreling away funds for retirement, etc. As age increases beyond 54, it appears that consumers are more likely to be enjoying travel time, perhaps in retirement.

Planning a Summer Vacation in 2012 (by Age Group)

Now will this year’s travelers be going on the cheap or booking five star hotels? They’ll probably fall somewhere in between, though leaning toward the more practical, budget friendly side. Among consumers planning to take a vacation, more than one in five (22.6%) plans to spend “more” than they did last year, while nearly as many (19.2%) will be spending “less.” This small difference might be significant, though: for the first time in recent memory (i.e. since 2010) those planning to spend “more” have outweighed those determined to spend “less.” [Last year was pretty much a tie.] The balance of vacationers (53.3%) is budgeting the “same” as previous years, so don’t expect a shortage of penthouse views.

Do you intend to spend more, the same amount, or less than you did for your summer vacation last year?

Just remember, wherever your travels take you this summer – or at any point in the future – always avoid Cousin Eddie’s and never let the dog near the picnic basket.

And for on where vacationers might be headed this summer, check out our previous post on this topic: State Superlatives: Dreamiest Destination, Finest Fare, Best Bet for a “Rerun” + more

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUN 10-12

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

June Insights – Hot Off the Press!

June 18, 2012 1 comment

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

BIGinsight June Executive Briefing

Click to view this month’s Executive Briefing

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

- As the summer weather heats up, confidence in the economy cools off. This month, just 31.3% feels very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, down from last month and marking the second consecutive month of decline for this indicator.
Good luck, Class of 2012: With the official U.S. unemployment remaining a discouraging 8.2%, an increasing number of consumers foresee a rise in layoffs over the next six months compared to May.
– May’s dip in practicality appears to have been just a “blip” on consumers’ spending radar. Additionally, practicality remains elevated from the June readings we recorded during the recession, suggesting that fault lines in the macro-economy are still rattling spending plans on a micro level.
Pain at the Pump: No gas price “fireworks” expected to set off for upcoming the holiday. Drivers are anticipating an average pump price of $3.75/gal by the end of June, 20 cents lower than their prediction for the close of May.
– Walmart wins in Women’s Clothing, while JC Penney is slipping.
– Consumer Migration: While Walmart’s travails are well-documented in Women’s Clothing, does the big discounter’s outlook look any brighter over in Men’s section?
– 90 Day Outlook is looking UPward compared to the past two years.  However, with spending for the majority of merchandise categories weakening compared to May, look for practical consumers to continue to exercise caution when spending.
– What’s Hot? Saving is in style, with Coupons taking the top spot in our list of What’s Hot for June. [#attentionJCP]

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

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

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.

“Fair & Square” Revisited

June 14, 2012 9 comments

When we first took a look at the new JC Penney “Fair & Square” strategy back in March, the initial read was so-so from the consumer standpoint. In our monthly “Hot or Not?” feature, more deemed it “not” (58.3%) than “hot” (41.7%), though JC Penney Women’s Clothing Shoppers* seemed the most willing to give the strategy a chance, particularly compared to Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart shoppers.

Flash forward to June…

In the wake of JC Penney’s disastrous Q1 earnings report, we decided to again poll our nearly 9,000 consumers for an update on their “Fair & Square” feelings. As you can imagine, it’s not faring so well; over the past three months, those who think JCP’s new direction is “hot” dropped nearly 14%:

Hot or Not? JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign

But the real issue here is how “Fair & Square” has affected JC Penney’s consumer share. A look at 10 years of BIG historical data on the current Top 5 Women’s Clothing retailers tells three tales:

1. The Decline of Walmart
2. The Rise of Kohl’s
3. The Macy’s / JC Penney Clash

Women's Clothing - Shop at Most Often

Let’s leave Walmart and Kohl’s out of the story for once and make JC Penney and Macy’s the main characters. As you can see, since Macy’s nationwide conversion in the mid-2000s, these two department stores have been tangling pretty consistently for third place in this category – with JC Penney generally the victor. However, a magnified look at each retailer’s performance over the past 13 months shows just how damaging “Fair & Square” was for JCP’s customer base:

Women's Clothing - JC Penney / Macy's Snapshot

Instead of driving shoppers to its stores, “Fair & Square” sent its customers right into the arms of competitors. #whatanightmare

* A selection of Women’s Clothing retailers was analyzed for this report. “Women’s Clothing Shoppers” are defined as those who shop most at a given retailer for Women’s Clothing (an unaided, write-in response).

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,585 other followers

%d bloggers like this: