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Generation Gap: Confidence Defined

The components that contribute to confidence can differ from person to person. Is the stability of the national economy most important? Where do personal concerns with employment, finances, and the future come into play? Does the stock market influence anyone’s sentiment regarding the economy?

In this new analysis of the more than 9,000 respondents who completed our March Consumer Survey, we’re taking a look at how consumers define confidence. And, to make it even more interesting, we’re dissecting this data by generation:

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

Among adults in general, “Trust in the stability of the national economy” was deemed to have the most influence when determining one’s level of confidence (49.5%). “Trust that your future financial situation will improve” (44.3%), “Trust in employment conditions and your ability to get or keep a job” (42.5%), and “Trust in a positive future for your family” (39.9%) followed.

Trust in the Stability of the National Economy

While stability of the national economy was important across all generations, it is most valued among Silents (60.5%) and Boomers (55.3%) – and was each of these segments’ top confidence influencer. The younger sects, though, were more likely to define confidence from a more personal perspective. Nearly half of Gen Y-ers (46.4%) said that employment conditions/ability to keep a job was most influential; this was also the #1 confidence component for Gen X (45.8%).

Trust in Employment Conditions and Your Ability to Get or Keep a Job

Gens X (42.6%) and Y (43.3%) were also more likely to add “Trust in a positive future for your family” to their confidence equation compared to Boomers (38.3%) and particularly Silents (33.3%). “Trust in the future place of employment” was important to nearly a third of each generation, save for the Silent generation (13.4%) – presumably with retirement in sight, or at hand, for these consumers.

Additionally, the older the generation, the more likely that macro-environmental issues play a role in defining confidence. “Trust in government’s international policy,” “Trust in stock market,” “Trust in government’s domestic policy,” and “Trust in regional economy” peaked among Silents and tapered off with declining age.

No matter how you define confidence, though, the slow improvement we’re seeing for consumer sentiment (currently at 34.8%) is a step in the right direction for an economy – and a population – that have been struggling for several years. Stay tuned to see if this optimism can be sustained throughout the springtime or if rising gas prices with quash this good feeling.

Very Confident/Confident in Chances for a Strong Economy

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

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

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Generation Gap: Get Your Green On

March 8, 2012 1 comment

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, it appears that Irish eyes will be smiling on restaurants, bars, and retailers hoping to rake in the greenbacks this year. According to our latest research for the National Retail Federation, 54.4% of consumers plan to get their green on this month, the highest in our survey’s history.

But with nearly 9,000 respondents partaking in our February Consumer Survey, we’ve got a pot of gold data to share with you on this subject, so let’s take a look at St. Patty’s Day from the generational perspective:

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

This may come as no surprise, but it’s the youngsters who are on the hunt for four-leaf clovers this month. More than seven in ten (72.7%) Gen Y-ers plan to celebrate the holiday this year, while three out of five (63.5%) of those in Gen X say the same. Boomers (43.1%) and Silents (36.9%) index below average in their enthusiasm for the Irish-themed holiday.

Among those celebrating, the wearing o’ the green is the overwhelmingly preferred activity, with Gen Y (87.3%) most wanting to avoid the pinch patrol on March 17. These youngsters are also most likely of our groups to attend a party at a bar or restaurant (37.1%) or attend a private party (27.1%). One-third (32.9%) of Gen X-ers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day plans to head to a bar or restaurant, and this percentage continues to decline with rising age:

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day at a Bar/Restaurant

So where does that leave the older generations? Sipping their green beer at home, of course! Nearly 40% of the Silent and Boomer generations plan to enjoy their corned beef and cabbage at ye olde homestead [#oopsEnglishnotIrish]. Among Gen Y, fewer than one in four (23.7%) are planning to make a special meal:

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Special Meal

Head over to Retail’s BIG Blog for the full report on St. Patrick’s Day 2012 from the National Retail Federation.

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.

Generation Gap: Yuck, It’s Tax Season

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Ah, the joys of Spring…the birds are chirping, the weather’s getting warmer, and Uncle Sam is banging on your door. With April 15th fast approaching, this is the one time of year I’m thankful I married an accounting nerd!

But enough about me, let’s focus on the different generations…as it turns out, the year you were  born is very much likely to influence your annual approach to signing your life away to the U.S. Treasury being a good, law-abiding citizen:

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

While a record number of taxpayers overall intend to use at least some of their refunds for savings, this plan is most prevalent with the youngest generation. Among Gen Y-ers anticipating a refund, 52.2% will to plunk this cash back into their piggy banks, compared to Silents (46.5%) and Gen X (44.7%). Boomers are the least likely generation to save their refunds (38.8%).

Perhaps still under the shadow of a student loan, mortgage, growing family “stuff,” holiday spending [etc., etc., etc.], Gen X-ers are the most likely generation to apply refunds to current debts (49.3%). About two in five (39.5%) Boomers plan to do the same, followed by Gen Y (36.3%) and Silents (27.3%).

Interestingly, it’s not all work and no play for the refunds received by Gen Y. One in five (19.5%) of these youngsters expecting a refund intends to make a major purchase (like a TV, furniture, car, etc.), quadruple the number Silents (5.1%) planning to do the same. Fewer than one in ten (8.3%) Boomers plans to use their refund toward a high-dollar expenditure, while Gen X-ers are nearly as likely as their younger counterparts to splurge (16.3%).

Other tax facts this year:
- Gen X is the generation most likely to file their taxes online. Seven in ten (68.1%) plan to e-file, compared to Boomers (60.2%), Gen Y (55.7%), and Silents (52.0%).
- Two in five Gen X-ers (42.6%) plan to prepare their taxes with computer software, higher than any other generation.
- Nearly a third of Silents (30.6%) plan to use an accountant this year, the top prep method with this generation.
- About one in five (18.8%) of those in Gen Y will have a spouse, friend, or dear-old-dad [or mom] other relative prepare their taxes, double the number of those in other generations planning to do the same.
- Three in four of those in Gen X (76.8%) and Gen Y (72.2%) are anticipating a refund this year, perhaps explaining why about 70% of these lucky ducks were planning to file in February or earlier.

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

And to view the original Nation Retail Federation Tax Returns release, click here.

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.

Device Detox: Which could you do without?

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

These days it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing someone distracted by a smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, or other device. Chances are also high that you, yourself, are addicted to some sort of gadgetry (admittedly I’ve been slightly obsessed with my NookColor lately). But could you live without those devices?

In our recent American Pulse™ survey, we asked 3,839 Americans 18+ what devices they could do without if need be, and the generation* gap in responses is quite wide. In fact, for every “new” device (think hand-held video games, eReaders, tablets, smartphones, etc.) we looked at, device dependency dwindles significantly with age:

So while the majority of Boomers and the Silent Generation said they could do without a Netbook, an MP3 player, or a smartphone, the majority of Gen Y implied they wouldn’t be able to part with these devices. The majority of Gen Xers wouldn’t be able to part ways with their smartphone either.  Further, only half of Gen Y said they could do without their hand-held video games, eReaders, and tablets.

But what about more “traditional” devices (i.e. those that have been around a bit longer)? Interestingly, with the exception of laptops, dependency on more traditional devices increases with age rather than decreases. It seems as though Boomers and Silents are less likely to be able to do without digital cameras, radios, televisions, and basic cell phones than their younger counterparts:

While only a small portion of consumers, regardless of age, could do without these more traditional devices (suggesting all consumers are dependent on some level of technology), Gen X and Gen Y would have less trouble than the Silent Generation giving up these gadgets.

But why is this? Well, perhaps because if they were forced to do without these basic devices, Gen X and Gen Y could replace their digital camera and basic cell phone with their smartphone, their radio with their MP3 player, and their television with streaming video on their tablet.

Or at least that’s what I would do…

*For the purposes of this analysis, generations were defined as follows:

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

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™

Source: American Pulse™ Survey, January 2012 #2, N=3,839

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ and American Pulse™ are trademarks of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Generation Gap: Promote my Ride

February 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Do you like what you drive? Would you convince your friends and family members to buy your brand? Or would you tell them to stay away? As a crazy Kia fan (who knows how to shuffle), I wondered which consumers are spreading the word about how awesome their ride is (like me!) and which stare at their luxury car calendar just wishing some day they could own something better.

In our January survey of 9,317 consumers, we asked drivers on a scale from 0-10 how likely it is that they would recommend the car they drive most often to friends or colleagues. Those who said 0-6 are Detractors (“Don’t ever buy this car!”), those who said 7 or 8 are Passives (“This car is decent.”) and those who said 9 or 10 are Promoters (“My ride rocks! You should get one!”). By subtracting Detractors from Promoters, you arrive at the Net Promoter Score* (you may remember this from our pre-holiday auto post when Lexus scored the highest among other vehicle brands).

Instead of looking at top-rated vehicles like we did in our latest press release (this month Subaru is #1), I looked at each generation’s likelihood to recommend their ride.

Surprisingly, the Silent Generation (born 1945 or earlier) scored the highest, with 34.0%. Older consumers appear more likely to be satisfied with their vehicles and willing to talk to their friends and family about purchasing the same brand. Generation Y (born 1983-1994) was more likely to spread negative publicity for the brand of vehicle they drive, scoring -11.8%. Gen Yers’ tweets and Facebook posts are more likely to say “My hunk of junk broke down…AGAIN!!” rather than “Get yourself a Kia and come party rock with me!” (unless you are reading my Twitter…) Boomers and Gen Xers both show positive Net Promoter Scores, with Boomers more likely to recommend their wheels to the world.

What about you? Would you promote your ride? Or do you hide it in the garage and bum rides off your friends? We love to hear from you!

Source: BIGinsight.com, January 2012

*Net Promoter, NPS and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld

Generation Gap: Gen Y Says Super Bowl is for Socialization

January 27, 2012 1 comment

Let’s get ready to…chat it up? That’s right, according to our latest Super Bowl data (conducted by BIGinsight for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association), Gen Y is the generation most likely to view the big game as, well, as big party.  Here are the segments we took a look at for this special analysis:

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

Before I get ahead of myself, I would like to clarify: among Gen Y-ers planning to watch the Super Bowl, two in five (40.4%) still said the game was most important to them. It’s just that a much larger proportion of these youngsters (25.6%) indicated that getting together with friends was the priority, particularly when compared to Silents (14.9%) and Boomers (15.0%). Slightly more Gen X-ers (19.4%) consider the Super Bowl a social event.

Interestingly, among both of the younger generations, the combined viewers who are into the Super Bowl for the commercials or to get together with friends eclipse the percentage of those who watch for the game itself. The opposite is true for Silents and Boomers: the match-up on the field is more important than all the other “benefits” combined.

Here are some other fun facts about celebrating Super Bowl Sunday:
- Gen Y-ers (42.9%) are the most likely to attend a party that day, double the number of Boomers (21.5%).
- The Gen X group is the most probable to host a party (23.1%), just edging out Gen Y (21.8%). Just a small fraction of Silents (3.1%) are sending out invites.
- Bring on the taco dip! Eight in ten (79.9%) Gen X-ers are planning to buy food/beverages for game day, slightly more than Gen Y (76.6%) and Boomers (70.7%).
- File this under ironic: Although the least likely to vote the game as the most important aspect of Super Bowl Sunday, 16.6% of those in Gen Y plan to show their team spirit by buying new apparel or accessories, more than any other generation.

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

UPDATE: RAMA’s Executive Director Mike Gatti name his picks for the Top 5 Super Bowl Ads: Goosebumps, giggles and gadgets: Mike Gatti’s top 5 Super Bowl commercials.

And, click to view the original RAMA press release: Record Number of Americans to Celebrate Super Bowl This Year with Plans to Spend $11 Billion

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.

Generation Gap: Gen Y is the Most Optimistic for Economic Rebound

January 13, 2012 10 comments

While hope for an economic rebound may be fading among consumers in general, Gen Y is the most likely to have a Pollyanna-like outlook for our future economy, generationally speaking:

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

According to the latest data from our Consumer Intentions & Actions® survey, more than one in three (36.7%) Gen Y youngsters have faith that the economy will bounce back to its pre-recession glory. Gen X isn’t too far behind at 35.8%, though Boomers (29.5%) and Silents (26.8%) are having a harder time embracing this outlook.

Interestingly, Gen Y-ers are also the ones most likely to view the future of the U.S. economy with a big ‘ole question mark (37.5%). Perhaps, though, this is because those on the younger end of this generation just didn’t fully experience the pre-recession economy as full-fledged “adults” [you know the full-time jobs, housing, debt, supporting a family…all those “fun” things]. Fewer of those in the Gen X (33.9%), Boomer (32.5%), and Silent (33.9%) generations express this uncertainty.

But who’s the Generational Grumpy Gus? Two in five (39.3%) Silents aren’t holding out hope for a rebound, while nearly as many Boomers (37.9%) feel the same way. Fewer than a third of Gen X-ers (30.3%) are taking a pessimistic standpoint, while just one in four (25.8%) of those in Gen Y share this sentiment.

Final thoughts? Speaking from a Gen X standpoint, let’s all hope the economy at least recovers to a point where we’re not waxing nostalgic about a time when it was worth ($) planning ahead for retirement. Sorry, Boomers.

For more information on this data, 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.

Pursuit of Happiness? Or Quest for Cash?

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

With a struggling economy and growing numbers of budget-conscious consumers, does the need for cash outweigh the desire to live a full life? Thankfully, no! On a 7-pt scale from “Make Money” to “Enjoy Life,” the majority of all Generations place themselves closer to the “Enjoy Life” side. Members of the Silent Generation (born 1945 or earlier) are the most likely to be living life to the fullest, averaging a 5.3 out of a perfectly happy 7. Gen X and Gen Y, scoring 4.5 and 4.6 respectively, still seem to have wealth woes holding them back from a more gung ho pursuit of happiness. (See the report here!)

Members of the Silent Generation appear to be sitting pretty—either already retired or poised to be so soon. 93.5% of them would rather spend time with family than spend time making money and 87.3% would like to spend time with friends (12.7% would choose a new technology device over their friends!) At this time in their lives, the majority of the Silent Generation would also like to have a full life (87.6%) rather than a full bank account (12.4%).

On the other side of the generation spectrum, members of Generation Y seem to be divided. Half of them appear to be doing well financially (either living with parents or gettin’ paper like Chris Brown) while the other half is struggling to make ends meet. Almost half (43.6%) would choose a job that pays well over one they truly enjoy. This compares to only a third (34.2%) of all Americans who would trade job satisfaction for a bigger paycheck. There are times when I agree with these struggling Gen Yers (a girl’s gotta eat!), but lucky for me, I have a fulfilling job that also pays the bills.

Good (and surprising to some) news, friends still trump tech toys for members of Gen Y! 76.8% of Gen Y would rather hang with friends than twitter around with a new smartphone or tablet (23.2%). Although my smartphone is addicting, I agree with the majority here—friends make my life more enjoyable than my smartphone (although Words with Friends combines the best of both worlds).

Even though money is tight, enjoying my life to the fullest is much more important to me than making money or buying “stuff.” Sure, I would love to have a full bank account (for now, a stable one will do), but I would much rather have a full life. In order to achieve this, I give up certain “luxuries” so I have some spare cash. It’s all about priorities—gas money to visit home is more important than paying for cable. Going out with friends is more important than a trip to the mall to buy new shoes or get a haircut. When you think about it, what good is “stuff” when you have no one to share it with? (And I mean in person sharing, not Facebook bragging sharing)

Where do you stand on the scale from “Make Money” to “Enjoy Life”? How do you find ways to pursue happiness in a tough economy? We love to hear from you!

Generation Gap: Who’s Excited about the Holiday Season?

December 15, 2011 1 comment

With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas just days away, it’s hard not to get excited about this time of year…or is it? Findings from our American Pulse™ survey indicate that this really depends on what generation you belong to:

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

Overall, the majority of consumers (50.5%) say they get very or somewhat excited for the holiday season this year, while one in four (24.5%) aren’t at all or aren’t very excited about the prospect of untangling lights, fighting crowds at malls, and hearing I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas on regular rotation on their favorite radio station [blech].

While no particular generation says “Bah Humbug” to the holidays, it’s evident that the older generations definitely find less to get excited about. Fewer than two in five (38.2%) of those in the Silent generation get somewhat or very excited as the holiday season rolls around, just slightly more Boomers (39.5%) say the same. The excitement level of Gen X-ers (53.4%) indexes higher than average, while nearly three in four (72.7%) Gen Y youngsters get downright twitterpated at the thought of candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup (OK, maybe that’s just Buddy the Elf).

About one in three of those in the Silent (31.2%) and Boomer (31.4%) generations say they just aren’t at all or aren’t very excited for the holiday season this year. Fewer Gen X-ers (23.5%) feel this way, while just one in ten of those in Gen Y (10.4%) say the same.

Three out of five (59.7%) holiday celebrants say they most look forward to spending time with family and friends during the season; about three in ten (29.6%) are actually dreading this time of year because money is tight. Just 10.6% is most looking forward to finding the perfect gift for everyone on their lists.*

While spending time with family and friends is the top priority for each generation, more Silents (70.4%) and – surprise! – Gen Y-ers (64.2%) are prone to indicate this. One in three of those in the Boomer (35.1%) and Gen X (32.9%) generations say aren’t looking forward to the holidays due to money concerns; Silents (24.6%) and Gen Y-ers (20.0%) are much less likely to indicate that money is putting a Grinch wrench in their holiday plans.

Finally, while I still refuse to disclose my age, I will admit that I [thankfully] do belong in a generation that tends to look forward to shopping during the holiday season. Those in the Gen X (13.4%) and Gen Y (15.8%) groups are more likely to indicate that they most look forward to finding the perfect holiday gifts, compared to Silents (5.0%) and Boomers (6.6%).

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

* For this question, consumers were asked to select one of the following phrases that best describes them: “I am looking forward to finding the perfect gifts for everyone on my list,” “I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends,” and “I am dreading the holiday season because money is tight.”

Source: American Pulse™ Survey, OCT-11 #2

© 2011, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Generation Gap: Tracking Holiday Sales & Promotions

December 8, 2011 1 comment

In case you missed it, the National Retail Federation recently released inaugural data on how shoppers plan to track holiday sales and promotions this season; BIG collected this data as part of our November Consumer Intentions & Actions® survey. Among holiday shoppers in general, it’s traditional forms of media (print ads, TV, even email) that grab the most attention:

Top 5 Media for Tracking Retailers’ Holiday Ads & Promotions (Adults 18+)
1. Advertising Circulars (50.5%)
2. Emails from Retailers (32.3%)
3. TV Advertising (31.7%)
4. Retailers’ Websites (23.7%)
5. Coupon Websites (i.e. RetailMeNot.com, FatWallet.com, etc.) (23.1%)

This data becomes really interesting, though, when we break it out by generation:

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

Ad Circulars

Ad Circulars are relatively less important to Gen Y-ers. (click to enlarge)

Advertising Circulars are the top media among all generations, except for those Gen Y-ers. Among these youngsters, Coupon Websites (35.0%) are the most sought-out, followed by Ad Circulars (33.5%), TV Advertising (33.1%), Facebook (32.3%), and Emails from Retailers (31.4%).

As you may expect, Ad Circulars are the most popular among the Silent generation (56.8%) as well as Boomers (58.1%). These two generations also place Direct Mail in the their top five lists.

The importance of social media grows as generations decrease in age. As previously mentioned, Facebook (32.3%) is a top five ad source among Gen Y; additionally, about one in four (24.7%) Gen X-ers socially engage this site for holiday promotions. Far fewer Silents (3.4%) or Boomers (8.9%) are doing the same.

Facebook

Gen X and Y are more likely to gravitate to Facebook than their older counterparts. (click to enlarge)

Among the younger generations, blogs are more popular as well. About one in ten of those in Gen X (10.6%) and Gen Y (12.1%) admits to scanning blogs for access to holiday deals, while this method is much less likely to be employed by Boomers or Silents.

It doesn’t appear that holiday shoppers are giving too much attention to Twitter this year. While many may be tweeting about the purchases they make or the deals that they scored, this was among the least popular venues for consumers to find holiday sales and promotions. Just 6.0% of Gen Y-ers rely on Twitter, and this percentage drops precipitously with age.

Blogs

Blogs prove more popular with younger generations. (click to enlarge)

One of the media newcomers, Group Buying Websites (i.e. Groupon, LivingSocial), is gaining fans with the younger generations. Among both Gen X and Gen Y, about 15% are intrigued by the mega deals offered through these venues. About one in ten Boomers are buying in, while just 5.3% of the Silents are tempted.

Besides the fact that younger generations prove to be more receptive to newer forms of media, this data really tells us that retailers need to know who their customers are in order to reach them in the most effective manner this holiday season…BIGinsight consumer data, anyone?

Couponing Websites

Couponing Websites - Favored by Gen Y (click to enlarge)

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

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey – NOV-11 (N = 8502, 11/1 – 11/8/11)

© 2011, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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