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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.

Confidence Cools Off As Summer Heats Up + How Does the Stockholm Syndrome Relate to Savings?

June 27, 2012 1 comment

This month, my co-host for the BIG Call was John Mariotti, President/CEO & Founder of the Enterprise Group. John also currently serves as a Director on several corporate boards and is an award winning author.

For this month’s BIG Call, John supplemented our favorite data on confidence, employment, personal finances, and spending plans with his unique analysis and understanding of these topics.

Here’s what we talked about:
– Confidence in the economy cools off as summer heats up, marking the second consecutive month of decline
– Just 16% of consumers are calling for “fewer” layoffs – a figure that has decreased [i.e. grown more pessimistic] over the past two years
– Last month’s “dip” in practicality appears to have been a “blip” on consumers’ spending radar
– Why are consumers seemingly holding back when it comes to paying down debt or increasing their savings?
– Scary fact: One out of three consumers isn’t saving any income
– Improvements in 90 Day Outlook may not be as positive as they appear
How is JC Penney’s “Fair & Square” faring?

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

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

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.

The Bloom is Off the Rose for Confidence + 4 Key Insights about Hispanic Consumers

This month, my co-host for the BIG Call was Dianne Kremer, Senior Analyst for BIGinsight. Dianne is also the editor of Prosper China’s Quarterly Briefings on Chinese Consumers and is a frequency quoted expert on our American Pulse insights.

For the first half of the Call, I presented new insights from our May Monthly Consumer survey, which included:
– The bloom is off the rose for Consumer Confidence, declining two points from April
– Practicality, Focus on Necessities declined from April…so was May’s “dip” in Confidence a short-term “blip” or are consumers having a sluggish spending response to sagging sentiment?
– Decreasing Overall Spending lowered from the extreme we saw in April
– One in three consumers feels “worse off” financially compared to the previous year
Department Store Domination in Women’s Clothing? (see also our latest press release on this topic)
– A BIG Forward Look at 90 day spending plans

And for the second half of the Call, Dianne discussed four key insights among Hispanic consumers:
– Higher Confidence, yet lower expectations for the Employment Outlook
– More positive about Personal Financial Situations
– Practical, but willing to spend
– Word of Mouth is key

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.



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

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – MAY-12 (N = 8789, 5/2 – 5/8/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Decreasing Spending Echoes Katrina Era + Pain at the Pump

April 27, 2012 1 comment

This month, my co-host for the BIG Call was Stacie Severs, Client Services Manager for BIGinsight and author of our Pain at the Pump blog series.

For the first half of the call, I presented new insight from our April Monthly Consumer survey, which included:
– Consumer Confidence, which stalled in April
– The “More of the Same” outlook for Unemployment
– The rising Focus on Needs, which is in range of recession-era Apr-09 and Apr-10
– The spike in plans to Decrease Overall Spending
– A BIG Forward Look at 90 day spending plans

For the second half of the Call, Stacie presented NEW findings on the impact of gas prices from our American Pulse survey. Here’s a preview:
– Nearly a third of consumers are filling up as soon as they see the price per gallon drop – regardless of whether or not they need it
– Two in five are shopping for apparel less frequently to help budget for the increasing cost of gas
– 20% are using their smartphones to research pump prices

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.


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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – APR-12 (N = 8724, 4/3 – 4/10/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

“Save-not-Squander” + More on The Changing American Consumer

March 30, 2012 1 comment

I co-hosted the March BIG Call with a very special guest, Dr. Marianne Bickle, Chair and Director for the Center for Retailing, University of South Carolina. Armed with BIGinsight™ data, Marianne authored the new book, The Changing American Consumer (more on that in a second).

For the first half of the call, I presented new insight from our March Monthly Consumer Survey, which included:
– A rise in Consumer Confidence for the fifth consecutive month
– Fizzling spending with Practicality, Focus on Needs heating up
– The “Save-not-Squander” financial mantra
The Pain at the Pump predicament
– A BIG Forward Look at 90 day spending plans

For the second half of the Call, Marianne presented NEW findings on the Fast Food industry (which has been a hot topic lately…see also here, here, and here). Using our BIG data, Marianne analyzed consumer trends in Fast Food – by income, census region, and gender – and brought everything full circle with a discussion on The Changing American Consumer.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

 

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – MAR-12 (N = 9242, 3/6 – 3/13/12)

© 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.

2011 Wrap-up + New Holiday Insights

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

For the final BIG Call of 2011, we presented new Holiday Insights (as reported here by the National Retail Federation) as well as 13 month snapshots for Consumer Confidence, Employment Outlook, Practical Purchasing, and Personal Finances.

Key Takeaways:

Consumer Confidence: It’s been a bumpy ride this year, but consumers are closing out 2011 with nearly the same perspective on confidence in a strong economy as they did 365 days ago. There’s still a long way to go, though, before consumers begin to have warm and fuzzy feelings about the economy again.

Employment: Although the official U.S. unemployment rate reached a two year low in November, consumers have a nearly identical outlook for the job market now as they did at the end of 2010. Concern for the job market is still very real, which will play into the decisions consumers make in 2012 regarding their debt, savings, and spending as well as who they plan to vote for in the upcoming Presidential election.

Practicality: While consumers feel roughly the same way that they did headed into 2011, times over the past 13 months have been tougher, yet they’ve been better, too. Cautious spending will likely stick around in the New Year.

Personal Finances: Paying down debt and decreasing overall spending remain the top financial goals, but the importance of increasing savings is growing as we close 2011. It looks like consumers will begin 2012 with a more fiscally conservative mindset than they did for the start of 2011.

Holiday: Fewer consumers have completed holiday shoppers compared to this time last year. As of the first week of December, one in three shoppers either hadn’t started yet or has completed less than 10% of their purchases. Since displacing credit cards in 2005, debit cards continue as the most popular payment method for the holiday season. It appears that consumers do seem to be continuing to make a conscious effort to stay off the credit cards and stay on budget.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

© 2011, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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