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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Can an iPhone 5 Save JC Penney?

It seems that Apple has the Midas Touch, and when JC Penney brought former SVP Ron Johnson on board in late 2011, it was heralded by many as a genius decision. Long relegated to the back of consumers’ minds [along with Sears], it appeared that this department store dinosaur was finally making a conscious effort to reinvigorate its stodgy image and arming itself to compete with its more present day foes: Macy’s, Kohl’s, and TJ Maxx.

With the advent of m-commerce, social media, and increasing connectivity, it seemed that this marriage between an Apple exec and JC Penney was a solid union – at least enough to advance the department store into 21st century retailing. However, as 2012 has progressed, it has become clear that the new “Fair & Square” JC Penney has gotten off to a very rocky start.

While JC Penney certainly has taken some steps in the right direction – focusing on exclusive brand names from the likes of Nicole Miller, Liz Claiborne, Mango, and even the Olsen twins takes a page from Kohl’s and Macy’s successful playbooks. Today’s consumers demand quality products at great prices, and they want to feel good about their purchases when walking out of the store. Here’s where JC Penney missteps: they have eliminated the excitement from the shoppers’ buying process. Having an extra 10-20% off coupon or buying an item on sale – which Kohl’s and Macy’s offer in abundance – gives the shopper the feeling that they’ve one-upped the retailer, i.e. the customer wins.

This shopping euphoria is essential when marketing apparel in an uncertain economy. Consumers already had closets full of clothes, and when it came time to really trim budgets during the “Great Recession,” apparel was one of the easiest budget cuts to stomach. It’s interesting that even during a downturn in the economy, electronics sold – maybe with a little less frequency and at somewhat lower price points, but the latest HDTVs, tablets, notebooks, smartphones, and all things iOS were, and continue to be, hot selling items. Budget-conscious consumers could justify the purchase of a new TV or computer; these were items that the whole family could enjoy, helped us multitask, and in some cases, assist with homework. In other words, electronics were fun, practical, and educational. Consumers literally couldn’t buy into this same reasoning when it came to apparel or home goods, categories that JC Penney so desperately needed to move on the selling floor.

When Johnson joined JC Penney last year, it appeared that the Apple “ego” followed him as well. Apple is an innovative brand with a heady following, and its retail outlets, which Johnson cultivated, served to build on this loyalty and brought out the curiosity in others – they were what shoppers demanded and gravitated toward.

JC Penney lacks the Apple cachet, and its “Fair & Square” overhaul – ditching coupons and weekly promotions in the process – failed to make a compelling argument as to why shoppers needed to check out their revamped stores. Sure low prices are great, but the new normal directs shoppers to seek out that extra incentive when it comes to buying non-essentials like apparel and home décor. The “new” JC Penney already has proof of this – just look at its successful free haircut promotion for Back-to-School; the operative word here, of course, is free.

A glance at what motivates shoppers to make apparel purchases shows us the continued importance of instore promotions and coupons in this category. According to BIGinsight’s semi-annual Media Behaviors and Influence™ survey of 25,000 consumers, apparel sales and promotions are the #1 driver for shoppers of many of the top U.S. retailers, including JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Gap, H&M, and Nordstrom – yes, even promotions are key with luxury shoppers. And, in instances where instore promotions aren’t the top motivation for apparel purchases, they are still likely top of mind. At TJ Maxx, for example, while 42.3% rely on word of mouth, nearly as many (40.4%) value a good sale.

While word of mouth is the #2 influencer for apparel purchases among JC Penney shoppers (at 36.3%), coupons are almost as important (35.5%). JC Penney customers’ attraction to apparel coupons is stronger than that of the general population (30.7%) as well. Coupons don’t carry nearly as much clout over in Apple’s wheelhouse – electronics – so it’s plain to see why Johnson was so quick to axe those money-savers at JC Penney.

So can an iPhone save JC Penney? Can a marketing approach borne from Apple revive a struggling department store? Can pigs fly? Clearly not. What works for Apple – what used to work for Ron Johnson – simply has no place in JC Penney’s strategy. Today’s apparel shoppers have honed their bargain-hunting skills and crave a good deal on their terms. Instead of trying to force “Fair & Square” on the buying public – much like the launch of a great, new, innovative product à la Apple – JC Penney really should have first become more attuned its target customers.

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

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Mobile Users Speak: Mobile Aptitude on the Rise

It looks as though mobile devices are here to stay; purchase intentions have been on the rise since 2011, even as the cost of living increases. The latest iPhone installment and newest Droid tablet appear to be on the “Do Not Cut Back” list for most consumers:

More and more consumers are acquiring the means to be mobile.

Naturally, those who have smartphones and tablets are using them for a variety of purposes. Some may even be considering replacing their laptop! Although a desktop or laptop computer is the preferred method for Internet access, this portion has been declining since April 2012. Earlier this year, 2 in 3 (67.1%) preferred using a computer to access the Internet, compared to just over half (56.7%) as of August. Mobile Users who prefer using a smartphone for web surfing have increased in numbers from April (22.3% to 29.0%) along with those who opt for tablet devices (10.7% to 14.3%).

Further, those mobile users with smartphones are going beyond the basics of their gadgets—they not only have means, but also the motivation to use their devices to the fullest. As of September, only 11.7% say they use their smartphone just for call/text/email. The rest of users are split: 46.0% use the basic features plus some applications while 42.2% say their smartphone is their life! These avid users remain in the majority while the proportion of phone fundamentalists is trending downward:

Would you like to discover your own mobile insights? All of these and more can be found at the Prosper Mobile InsightCenter™. Check it out soon! For the entire month of October, Prosper Mobile Insights is offering an All Access Pass to behind-the-scenes segments including wireless providers, retailer shoppers and extended demographic segments.


Source: Prosper Mobile Insights™

© 2012, Prosper®

Who wants an iPhone 5?

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

On the eve of what *may* finally be Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement, we thought we’d check in with our consumers to see how they are handling their possible-new-smartphone-related anxiety.

In our August survey of more than 9,000 consumers, we put the iPhone 5 rumors to the test in our monthly “Hot or Not?” feature. As it turns out, more deemed it “not” (66.1%) than “hot” (33.9%) – placing Apple’s would-be new offering at the low end of our heat spectrum this month, just ahead of current tabloid target Kristen Stewart. [cue Debbie Downer]

Hot or Not? Apple iPhone 5 RumorsRecall the iPhone 5 rumblings a year ago? Consumers were much more likely to hotly anticipate the Apple’s latest iPhone iteration back in August 2011, with the majority (50.7%) feeling the heat – from 2011 to 2012, that’s a 33% drop in hotness! With the iPhone 4S not quite living up to our update expectations last year, it appears that consumers are bracing themselves for a less-than-astounding announcement on September 12. #poorSiri

But don’t cry for Apple…it looks like the iPhone 5 [or whatever is soon announced] will have many a shopper clamoring for the new device – particularly among the younger set. Nearly three out of five 18-24 year olds (56.0%) are declaring the 2012 rumors to be “hot,” while those 25-34 index above average as well (45.7%). Expectedly, the temperature on the iPhone 5 buzz gets increasingly chillier as age rises:

Hot or Not? Apple iPhone 5 Rumors (by Age)

With my contract expiring at the end of the year, here’s hoping that Apple’s developed something of grand proportions. You know, it’d be great if Siri could take on my vacuuming. #iwantanappforthat

This post is also trending over on the Prosper Now blog on Forbes.com.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, AUG-11, AUG-12

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Mobile Users Speak…to their devices!

May 29, 2012 3 comments

Do you ever find yourself driving down the highway, asking your smartphone for directions to a restaurant or a friend’s house? 3 in 4 Mobile Users say they utilize at least some form of voice activation on their smartphones or tablets, for a variety of uses from commands (“Call Mom”) to personal assistants (“Siri, what restaurants are nearby?”), according to the latest mobile survey from Prosper Mobile Insights.

The most popular voice features are Internet searches and directions. Nearly 1 in 3 (32.0%) regularly speaks to a device to search the Web and another 20.7% ask their smartphone or tablet for directions. 14.6% say they regularly talk to text, 12.8% utilize personal assistants and 11.6% use voice commands often:

Among the 74.4% who use voice activation at least occasionally, most (63.1%) are somewhat or very satisfied with the voice capabilities on their mobile devices. However, about a fourth of this group (23.8%) is neutral—they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Perhaps these folks just haven’t used voice activation to the fullest? Maybe they’ve read too many autocorrect mishaps? Or maybe other smartphone and tablet features are just more alluring. Mobile Users say texting, Internet access, calling and email are the top features they can’t live without, along with GPS and of course, apps.

Even more insights are available on your tablet via the Prosper Mobile InsightCenter. You can install the app on your iPad or download to your Android™ tablet. No tablet? No problem! View the InsightCenter online here.

Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc.

Source: Prosper Mobile Insights™ Mobile Survey, April 2012, N=328

© 2012, Prosper®

Battle of the Sexes: Keeping Up with the (Mobile) Joneses

When you buy a new smartphone or tablet, do you get excited about having the latest and greatest gadget on the market? Does that excitement fade after about a month when the next “latest and greatest” hits the shelves? You are not alone!

Overall, about 1 in 5 Mobile Users (19.4%) simply have to have a new product or upgrade when it is made available. 23.2% of men say they go out and get it these new products right away while women (15.9%) are less likely to feel the impulse:

I agree with the ladies on this one—I’d rather save my money and enjoy other parts of my life that don’t involve being glued to a gadget. It appears as though the most popular option when a new product is available is to wait for prices to drop before jumping on the mobile bandwagon.

Perhaps because men are more likely to buy the newest tech products as soon as possible, they are also less likely than women to find it difficult to stay up to date with technology upgrades. 42.3% of women somewhat/strongly agree that it is hard to keep up with new and changing technology devices vs. 37.2% of men:

I’m going to have to side with the fellas on this one, mostly because I don’t bother to try to keep up!

For more insights on mobile users, including how smartphones and tablets are used on vacation, check out our latest press release: Top Ways Mobile Users Stay “Connected” on Vacation: Personal Email, GPS & Keeping in Touch, According to Latest Mobile Survey.

Even more insights are available on your tablet via the Prosper Mobile InsightCenter. You can install the app on your iPad or download to your Android™ tablet. No tablet? No problem! View the InsightCenter online here.

Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc.

Source: Prosper Mobile Insights™ Mobile Survey, March 2012, N=346

© 2012, Prosper®

Yep, There’s an App for That Too

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Smartphones are big, and tablets are even bigger, primarily due to the countless number of handy dandy apps available for download. From games, planning dinner, tracking the calories in that dinner, to connecting with friends, or even learning How to Drink Your Coffee, there’s bound to be an app for that.

But what apps do consumers really care about when it comes down to it? What about consumers in China, where the mobile market is soaring? Developers take note…it’s all about games and entertainment. For the purposes of this analysis we looked at the types of apps mobile-savvy American and Chinese Consumers ages 18-54 use most often. Despite cultural differences, games, entertainment, and social networking apps are most popular:

With gaming and general entertainment the top two types of apps in both countries, it’s clear that those little Angry Birds have global appeal. Social networking apps are also popular in both countries, with approximately 6 in 10 Chinese and American consumers connecting with friends and family via their mobile devices.

The cultural divide is apparent though once we look past gaming, entertainment, and social media. American consumers are far more likely to download apps related to weather (54.4%), radio (41.7%), and sports (31.0%) than their Chinese counterparts.  Mobile-savvy Chinese Consumers, on the other hand, are much more likely to use work-related apps focused on finance (49.4%), news (52.8%), and general business (51.2%).

Like Apps? We’ve got ‘em too. Visit www.BIGinsight.com/decisions

For more information on this data contact BIGinsight™ or ProsperChina™

Sources: BIGinsight™ Media Behaviors & Influence™ Study – DEC-11 (N=24,578); ProsperChina™ Quarterly Survey – Q4 2011 (N, 16,175)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ ProsperChina™ and Media Behaviors & Influence™ are trademarks 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.

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