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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.

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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.

The Price of a Woman’s Face

I was shopping one of my favorite retailers last weekend–Target. Big Red and I have a history. For years, one of my beloved pastimes is to grab a cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks and just browse aimlessly up and down the aisles until something interesting lands in my cart. This particular weekend the spirit moved me in the cosmetic aisle and I scored six E.L.F. (Eyes, Lips, Face) items for six bucks. That’s less than how much I usually pay for a tube of mascara!

My weekend “score”

High off of my dollar-a-tube spending spree, I was fairly impressed with my purchase. But then I was quickly deflated when I started to add up the other products that currently have a home on my face. For one, I use a department store foundation ($25), which I have been conditioned to believe that I just cannot live without. Same goes for eye shadow (another $25). But my latest “big ticket” cosmetic purchase is an Arbonne makeup primer, which with tax and shipping set me back about fifty bucks.

My guilty pleasure

So even if I replaced my eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, blush, powder and concealer with E.L.F. products, I put a grand total of $106 on my face each day.

I am a self-admitted make-up junkie, so I spend a bit more on cosmetics than the average Jo(an). According to the BIGinsight™ monthly survey, women spend an average of $16.22 a month on both skin care and cosmetics combined. That equals out to about $195 a year. Women ages 35-44 appear to spend the most, likely due to means or possibly motivation—a wrinkle (gasp!). Women 65+ spend the least.

You could probably guess that my favorite place to purchase cosmetics is Target. And although Walmart is King Queen when it comes to store shopped most often for skin care and cosmetic products for women of all ages, Target is more likely to crop up in the list among younger sets.  Drug stores are also popular choices across the board.

Discounters and drug stores are likely popular choices because they carry what a woman wants – at price points most of us ladies can afford. Cover Girl is ranked as the most popular cosmetic line for all age breaks, followed by Maybelline in most instances (women 65+ seem to rely pretty heavily on their Avon lady). Revlon comes in at #3 for women ages 25-34, 35-44 and 55+.

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, Jul-11, N=8684

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Why Are Shoppers So Glum About Spending?

April 16, 2012 3 comments

As we recently reported in our April BIG Executive Briefing, two in five consumers (39.8%) say they plan to decrease overall spending over the next three months…that was April’s top financial priority, dethroning the usual intent to pay down debt (34.7% in Apr-12).

Forty percent actively attempting to curtail their expenditures is a big number. So big, in fact, that we’ve only approached this figure three times in the past SEVEN years. Researching this a bit further, it was pretty easy to tie a piece of history to each of the three previous peaks: Hurricane Katrina, the Summer ’08 Record High Gas Prices, and Holiday ’08 (see chart below, but don’t strain your brain…I’ll break it down in a second). Because two of these three events had at least a little something to do with pump prices, I added in the average price per gallon of gas during the week of our survey collection, as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Plans to Decrease Overall Spending v. Average Price Per Gallon of Gas

Now, let’s break this down historically:

Hurricane Katrina: When this natural disaster slammed into the Gulf states in Aug-05, we were all affected nationwide. New Orleans, et al were literally adrift, slow response times left victims with prolonged suffering [*coughs* FEMA], and price per gallon of gas soared to $3 [ah, $3/gal…how I miss thee]. By September, consumers were responding with their spending sentiment: 40.0% were planning to decrease overall expenditures. As you can see in the chart though, as pump prices edged back downward, consumers backed off this conservative fiscal mantra.

Summer ’08 Gas Price Highs: According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, pump prices hit an all-time high on July 17, 2008, at $4.114/gal. By now we were also in the belly of the recession, and 39.2% of consumers reacted with plans for spending cutbacks. And though gas prices bottomed-out by Holiday 2008, consumer spending plans didn’t respond in kind #thankyoubankfailures

Holiday ’08: It’s safe to say that the Holiday 2008 shopping season was a disaster. The severe spending cutbacks that materialized with shoppers were not anticipated by retailers, who were left deeply discounting the massive amounts left on their store shelves pre- and post-holiday. More than two in five consumers (42.9%) rang in New Year 2009 with resolutions to decrease overall spending, a record high. So – obviously – it’s not always gas prices that ignite spending cutbacks among consumers…sometimes, you can blame it on a recession.

Furthering the point that pump prices aren’t always that culprit, when the cost of fueling up topped off at over $4/gal last May, drivers didn’t have a fiscal knee-jerk reaction. While at the time consumers were bracing for a $4.25/gal price by Memorial Day ’11, that never materialized and plans to decrease overall spending continued to fluctuate in a relatively [new] “normal” 30% to 35% range.

So what’s different this year? Average gas prices have crossed that $4/gal threshold again, and 39.8% have responded with plans to cut back. Have consumers just had enough? Are they tired of dealing with pump prices in addition to the inflating price tags on apparel, food, and other household items? Are they not willing to tap into their hard-earned savings to cover the additional costs of fueling up? Are they hedging on a response [or lack thereof] from Capitol Hill?

At any rate I think it’s safe to say that if gas prices don’t cool off as summer heats up, retailers might be in for a spending drought.

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

Like the timeline infused with BIG data? Be sure to sign up for complimentary access to our Vital Signs InsightCenter™, an advanced platform for the visualization and delivery of insights and answers on how consumers in the U.S. are reacting to key economic events. It illustrates how consumers feel about the economy, changes they make in their lives in reaction to the economic situation, and how their personal financial and spending plans are affected by key events. It goes beyond traditional point-in-time data reports to trended insights in one easy-to-use, decision-ready format.

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.

Up, Up, and Away: Consumers Talk Rising Prices

April 4, 2012 2 comments

Consumers are still hyped up over inflated prices on many common household purchases, including food and gasoline, according to the latest results from BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey.

In our March survey, we asked our 9,000+ respondents the direction they felt prices were headed for items like children’s clothing, electronics, jeans, and of course the aforementioned food and fuel. We then tabulated this data (asked on a 5 point Likert scale, from “Significantly Less” to “Significantly More”) into our easy-to-read Diffusion Index, and – voila! – another informative blog post.

Let’s start with the hard facts:
– We asked about a broad range of products, from different types of apparel to items found around the home to staples. We are serving up a sampling of the results here.
– None of the items we price-checked with consumers ended up with a negative Diffusion Index (i.e. there was no consensus that any one item was more likely to decline in price rather than rise).
– FYI: an index of zero would mean that the vote was split on the decline-or-rise debate.

How do you expect prices will change over the next 6 months for the following items?Probably not-so-surprisingly, consumers pegged Gasoline as the item most likely to pump up in price over the next six months (index = 70.4), while Food followed with a nearly as impressive score (index = 63.2). Concerns with textile prices are still evident with more consumers [than not] anticipating that the cost of a pair of jeans or a fashion top will elevate this year.

What might be most surprising about this data? Among all of the items that we surveyed, Electronics received the lowest index (at 29.4). But that Apple iPad 2 can now be had for $399, right?

The key takeaway here is that consumers are hedging against rising prices – meaning that they will curb spending in other areas to compensate. While confidence did uptick in March, we also saw rising proclivities toward practicality and saving. Stay tuned for next week when we reveal how consumers are coping in April.

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.

February Wrap-Up + New Insights on Chinese Consumers

Our February BIG Call was packed with insights from both the American and Chinese consumers’ perspectives.

For the first half of the Call, I presented the latest data from our Monthly Consumer Survey on Confidence, Employment, Practicality, Finances and Savings, and the 90 Day Outlook.

And in Part II, our Senior Analyst, Dianne Kremer, discussed the five trends you need to know about Chinese Consumers from the ProsperChina™ Quarterly Survey:

  1. Consumer Confidence is Good, Not Great
  2. Practicality Remains High
  3. Spending on Needs over Wants
  4. Shifting Attitudes
  5. Consumer Connectivity

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

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.

FYU: Prescription Drugs

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

As we reported in our most recent Executive Briefing, according to our Consumer Migration Index, Walgreens seems to be having a customer flow problem…as in, the drugstore’s Prescription Drug customers are flowing out its doors and to the competition. It’s time for this retail giant’s check-up, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports.

For Your Understanding this month, we’re going to look primarily at the top competitors in this category: Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. As you can see in the chart below, while Walgreens and CVS have been keeping close company for most of the past year, it’s evident that in Q4 2011 the two retailers began to tangle for the top spot in this category:

Prescription Drugs - Store Shopped Most Often

For additional insight on Walgreens and its competitors, we can turn to our latest Retail Ratings Report. Just on the first few pages of this handy guide*, we can see that:

–  CVS fills more prescriptions for consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets, while Walgreens is the top choice among those earning under $50,000.
–  There’s an occupational divide among the top three competitors. Walmart is the first pick among Labor/Blue Collar Workers, CVS is tops with White Collar/Service Workers, while Retirees and Disabled Workers head to Walgreens most often.
–  CVS bests Walgreens among customers in the 45 to 64 year old age bracket.  The two competitors are more evenly matched both among older (65+) and younger (18-44) consumers.
–  Walgreens maintains its surest footing in the Midwest and West, while CVS (and Rite Aid) rule the Northeast. CVS and Walgreens are neck-and-neck in the South (while Walmart a very close third here).

But let’s look a bit deeper with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Prescription Drugs show that Walgreens (+ others) continue to slip in a segment in which CVS shines:  those earning $50,000+/year. Here, CVS has experienced a 5% growth while Walgreens is suffering from a near 10% decline.

Prescription Drugs CEI - $50,000+ Incomes

And, if you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year (read: Walgreens’ core customer base), you would find that Walgreens’ share is remaining stagnant, but that CVS is increasingly curing customers here as well.

Now you understand: While Walgreens remains a top competitor in the Prescription Drugs category, three weaknesses are evident with just a quick glance at the latest Retail Ratings Report:

1.) Walgreens is dropping share among upper income shoppers.
2.) Walgreens is experiencing a flat/no-growth situation among its core shoppers.
3.) Walgreens is facing tougher competition in the form of CVS.

How’s that for a diagnosis?

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, JAN-11 – JAN-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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