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A Mom Blog

Wife, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, godmother, and sometimes just “mom”…we maintain a lot of connections to all of these special women in our lives, so what better way to show our appreciation for all of the mothers than a day just for her?

Not even this year’s escalating gas prices have put the brake on spending for Mother’s Day, which is the third highest-spending holiday that we track for the National Retail Federation (behind Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa and Back-to-School). And for this special analysis, we’re taking a look at Mother’s Day spending by specific store shoppers* at several major U.S. retailers.

Consistent with our Valentine’s Day findings, Macy’s shoppers are planning to spend the most on mom this year at $222.51, much higher than the overall average ($152.52). Costco shoppers index higher as well (at $164.96), while Target ($154.53) and JC Penney ($156.30) shoppers are expected spend consistently with the typical U.S. shopper. Walmart, Sam’s Club, Amazon.com, and Kohl’s shoppers are aiming for the biggest bargains for their bucks this year:

Mother's Day 2012: Combined Average Spending Plans
Interestingly – but perhaps not-so-surprisingly – Amazon.com customers are the most likely to head online for Mother’s Day gifts this year. Forty-seven percent of these shoppers are hitting the Internet just for mom this year (their top destination), which vastly eclipses the 25.6% planning to take to the web among the general population. And for more on the Mother’s Day online shopper, see the Shop.org Blog: Key dates and tips to target the online Mother’s Day shopper in 2012.

Planning to Purchase Mother's Day Gifts ONLINE
What else can we expect this Mother’s Day?

– While Walmart shoppers are the most likely to head to discounters (34.7%) among the retailers we analyzed, department stores (38.4%) and specialty shops (35.2%) will be top destinations for loyalists to the big W as well.

– Specialty stores will be the most popular gifting locales for Target, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club customers, though Target, JC Penney, and Macy’s shoppers are nearly as likely to head to department stores, too.

– Among those armed with tablets, Macy’s and Target shoppers are the most likely to use this device to assist with finding the perfect gift for mom. Three out of five (61.7%) Macy’s customers will use their tablets to research or buy products, redeem coupons, or look up retailer information, while 56.8% of Target shoppers say the same. Overall, 51.2% of shoppers who own tablets will use these devices to shop for mom.

* “Shoppers” are defined as respondents who indicated that they shopped a retailer most often for at least one major merchandise category (including Women’s, Men’s, or Children’s Apparel, Shoes, Electronics, Heath & Beauty Care, etc.), unless otherwise noted. Shopper groups analyzed for this report (Walmart, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Target, Macy’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Amazon.com) are not mutually exclusive.

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.

Consumer Buzz: Women’s Clothing

April 12, 2012 3 comments

According to new analysis by BIGinsight, department stores are more buzzed about than discounters when it comes to shopping locales for feminine apparel.* For this special report, we’ve applied the Net Promoter Score** metrics system to our April Consumer Survey data to show how consumers perceive their Women’s Clothing store of choice.

Here, we took the percentage of a destination’s detractors from the number of those who actively promote their Women’s store of choice, which helps us evaluate the strength of a retailer’s image for the Women’s Clothing category. And, among the Top 5 stores for this segment, we found that Kohl’s receives the most net positive buzz (NPS = 36.2%) from its customers, followed by Macy’s and JC Penney (see below). While Target’s NPS was significantly lower than its department store counterparts (at 2.6%), the discounter still garnered an overall positive rating. That other big discounter – Walmart – was the only retailer in the Top 5 to calculate a negative NPS (-10.3%)…ouch.

Net Promoter Score - Women's Clothing

It’s interesting to note that while the most buzzed about retailers are department stores by definition, each courts customers based on varying motivations. For the Kohl’s and JC Penney shoppers, price and selection are the key reasons to peruse their racks; for Macy’s, it’s quality and selection. At Walmart, customers shop based on price and location, while Target woos shoppers with a mix of price, selection, and location (shoppers seem divided between the latter two).

Women's Clothing - Select Reasons to Shop a Store Most Often

What analysts are buzzing about, though, is consumers’ reaction to JC Penney’s new “Fair & Square” pricing strategy. As it turns out, JC Penney’s customers just aren’t as likely to be lured by coupons and special deals when it comes to shopping the Women’s section. While Walmart and Target are the least likely to be motivated by this sales simulant, over at Kohl’s, we might see shopper anarchy if this department store darling adopts a similar strategy #kohlscashforever

Coupons/Special Sales Motivate Women's Clothing Purchases

*April 2012’s Top 5 Retailers for Women’s Clothing (Kohl’s, Walmart, Macy’s, JC Penney, Target) were analyzed for this blog.

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

The NPS which takes a simple question–Would you recommend us to a friend?–has helped countless organizations better understand “promoters” and “detractors” and paint a clear picture of their company’s performance through the eyes of their customers. By applying the Net Promoter Score*, executives can identify their customer base and move beyond “sufficient” to brand loyalty and growth.

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.

“Fair is Fair” but is Square…well…Square?

March 22, 2012 8 comments

As any self-respecting child of the 80’s knows – “Fair is Fair.” Doesn’t the theme from that nearly 30 year old [ack!] cult classic take you back? Pat Benatar, anyone? Supergirl? An undying love for Christian Slater? But I digress…let’s hop out of the DeLorean and evaluate what really got me thinking about “Fair is Fair”:

JC Penney’s new “Fair & Square” Ad Campaign

The complete overhaul of JCP’s marketing, merchandising, and promotions plans certainly made headlines in the retail community, but what do consumers really think about this strategy switch-up? In addition to being practical and realistic in their purchasing, today’s shoppers are also “intelligent”: researching products, comparing prices, stalking sales, and couponing like crazy.  And, consumers are all the more informed when aided by their mobile devices. Knowing all this, it seems that JCP’s new “Fair & Square” approach might be as dated as a Flock of Seagulls hairdo. So who’s buying what JCP’s selling?Hot or Not? JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign

In our March Consumer Survey of more than 9,000 consumers, we put JC Penney’s “Fair & Square” Ad Campaign to the test in our monthly “Hot or Not?” feature. As it turns out, more deemed it “not” (58.3%) than “hot” (41.7%) – placing “Fair & Square” in the middle of the pack compared to the other items we polled this month.

But who are the two out of five customers who have at least had their interests – if not their wallets – piqued by “Fair & Square”? These shoppers are more prone to be women (59.9%), married (53.2%), middle-aged (46.7 years, on average), and earning about $56,000/year…sounds like JC Penney’s typical Women’s Clothing shopper.

Is that not interesting enough for you? Let’s take a look at “Fair & Square” from a different perspective – Women’s Clothing shoppers from competing retailers.* Interestingly, fewer shoppers at Walmart – home to the somewhat similar EDLP pricing strategy – warmed up to the idea of “Fair & Square.” Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Old Navy shoppers were relatively more excited by the concept than Kohl’s or Target loyalists:

JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign is HOT

From this standpoint, it appears that most shoppers have a so-so opinion of “Fair & Square” so far. Perhaps they’re walking into JCP to see what all of the fuss is about, but whether or not they’ll convert to the retailer over the long haul remains to be seen – as does the department store’s ability to retain its current customer base.

Ah, Love Retail is a Battlefield.

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

* 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 – MAR-12 (N = 9242, 3/6 – 3/13)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

FYU: Shoes

As reported in our latest Executive Briefing, Payless has once again surpassed Walmart for the top spot in Shoes. If you are a follower of our monthly insights on this topic, you would know that while this is a rare occurrence (Payless was last #1 in NOV-09), these two footwear retailers have been tangling for the top prize for quite some time:

Shoes - Store Shopped Most Often

Is there a reason behind Payless’ failed commitment to the lead in Shoes? Why isn’t Walmart hot-to-trot in this category, as it is with Men’s and Children’s Apparel, Groceries, and Health & Beauty Care? And doesn’t that two month upswing for Kohl’s, DSW, JC Penney look interesting in the chart above? For Your Understanding this month, we’ll hoof it through these questions, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports*.

In just the first few pages of this handy guide, we can see that:

–  Women have a preference for Payless, while Men typically head to Walmart most often. But speaking from a strictly biased point of view (#iloveshoes), we females are the Shoe connoisseurs and not-so-much for the fellas, right?
–  The sweet spot group of customers for both Walmart and Payless earn under $50,000 per year – so these retailers are competing for a lot of the same attention.
–  Interestingly, Kohl’s is tops among consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets (though Payless is a close #2 with $50,000+ wage earners.)
–  Payless is the victor among the young crowd (18-34 year olds) and lands about a point ahead of #2 Walmart with shoppers 35 to 54 years old. Walmart is the favorite among those 55+.
–  Among the fashion forward set (a growing group of shoppers, according to our latest findings), Payless is most popular, followed by DSW, Foot Locker (OK, maybe a few men do enjoy shopping for Shoes), Macy’s, and finally Walmart. The competition is closer between Walmart and Payless among those who prefer value and comfort as well as shoppers sporting traditional styling.
–  Payless is tops in the Northeast and out West, while Walmart holds the Southern stronghold. Walmart leads by just a point over Payless and Kohl’s in the Midwest.

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 Shoes show that Walmart is slipping in a segment in which Payless shines (along with Kohl’s and DSW and Macy’s and JC Penney):  the all-important and all-knowing female segment. Here, Payless has experienced near 12% growth while Walmart is suffering from a near 20% decline.Consumer Equity Index for Shoes - Women

BTW, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: female consumer preference share for DSW has increased 30%+ over March 2011. Macy’s and Kohl’s are also excelling among Women with nearly 20% growth apiece. Rising share for JC Penney is more in line with Payless at about 12%. #fiercecompetition

And, recall that sweet spot of core customers for both Walmart and Payless? If you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year, you would find that Payless’ share is gaining, while Walmart’s is waning.

Now you understand: Payless is gaining ground over Walmart with two key demographics for both of these discount-oriented retailers: 1.) Women and 2.) Under $50,000 wage earners. Growing competition from the likes of Kohl’s, DSW, and JC Penney may be preventing Payless from gaining surer footing as the lead in this category.

Bottom Line: I clearly need more shoes Stay tuned for further developments in this hot category.

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

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, MAR-11 – MAR-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.

Valentine’s Day 2012: Do Macy’s Shoppers Have the Biggest Hearts?

February 6, 2012 1 comment

While it looks like consumers in general are feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, new analysis by BIGinsight shows that the hearts seem to grow fondest among Macy’s shoppers. For this exclusive report, we analyzed the Valentine’s Day plans among shoppers at five major U.S. retailers: JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart (non-grocery).*

While about three in five consumers (59.4%) overall are planning to celebrate February 14 this year, this number rises among Macy’s shoppers (68.2%). Hearts are also beating a little faster among Target (64.3%) and JC Penney (63.4%) buyers, while Kohl’s and Walmart are closer to the national average.

What really sets Macy’s celebrants apart from the rest is the amount they plan to spend on the ones they love. While the average consumer is allocating $126.03 towards gifts for significant others, children, friends, pets, and others, Macy’s shoppers are allotting about 30% more: $164.67. Every other shopper group we looked at for this report is planning to spend below average:

Valentine's Day 2012: Combined Average Spending Plans

So why are Macy’s shoppers’ spending plans so robust compared to the rest of the retailers we reviewed? We found a few interesting insights here:

Macy’s shoppers simply have more available to spend. The average yearly income of Macy’s shoppers exceeds the take home pay of the other shopper groups we looked at for this report.
Macy’s shoppers are wooing and less likely “I doing.” Macy’s (and Target) shoppers were the groups most likely to check the “Single, never married” box in the marital status portion of our survey, while JC Penney and Kohl’s shoppers were the most probable to be hitched. Come to think of it, I did receive more flowers, candy, and – most importantly – jewelry before I was married…
Sale shopping is less important to the Macy’s customers. In January, nearly one in five Macy’s shoppers reported that sales aren’t important to them when buying clothing, compared to just 9% of Kohl’s shoppers. BTW, Kohl’s customers are the most likely of these five groups to only buy clothing when on sale, probably accounting for at least part of why these deal-oriented shoppers have the most frugal Valentine’s Day budget. (Kohl’s Cash, anyone?)
Macy’s shoppers are more optimistic on matters of the economy. Nearly two in five (37.3%) Macy’s customers were very confident or confident in chances for a strong economy in January, 20%+ higher than general population (30.4%). Confidence among Kohl’s, JC Penney, and Walmart shoppers indexed below average, and as we all [should] know, low confidence does not spur spending.

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

And, click to view the original National Retail Federation press release: Americans to Pull Out All the Stops This Valentine’s Day.

* “Shoppers” are defined as respondents who indicated that they shopped a retailer most often for at least one major merchandise category (including Women’s, Men’s, or Children’s Apparel, Shoes, Electronics, Heath & Beauty Care, etc.), unless otherwise noted. Shopper groups analyzed in this report are not mutually exclusive.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp

BIG on the Street: Black Friday, Part II

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

So I’ve mentioned that I continued Black Friday tradition this year by shopping with my best friend and her mother. Now, her mother didn’t join us for our Target excursion; instead, she headed to the mall to stake out Bath & Body Works (B&BW), also opening at midnight. Our B&BW target was the annual VIP bag, a purchase-with-purchase special for the day that included a variety of fun, I-don’t-really-need-these type of items (which *ahem* were a bit leaner compared to the 2010 bag and most noticeably did not include last year’s coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase).

However like moths drawn to a flame, we Black Friday shoppers needed this “deal.” And, given the line at Target, we didn’t think we’d make it over to the mall in a sufficient amount of time. My friend’s mother was sent to B&BW with instructions to grab some of their $10 three wick candles (enough to use a $10 off $30 coupon and qualify for the VIP bag). Much to our surprise though, by the time we made it out of Target (12:25pm) and over to the mall, my friend’s mother was still in line at B&BW! Yes, that’s right, our shopping trip to Target was quicker than B&BW.

Thus concluded our destination Black Friday shopping until 5am, when Toys R Us would tempt us my friend back with a new round of deals. To be perfectly honest, I find it hard to recall all of the details of this four hour timespan; perhaps this is where a few hours of pre-shopping sleep would have been beneficial. I actually had to check my receipts to see where I was and what I bought (just slightly reminiscent of The Hangover­). During this time, we stopped at Macy’s (used $10 off $25 and $20 off $50 coupons for a couple of gifts). At 2:30am, I purchased a crystal gingerbread man ornament with a $10 off $10 coupon at Elder-Beerman. (You can categorize that purchase under “Strange Items One Buys in the Wee Hours of the Morning on Zero Sleep”).

Hungry for deals? At the food court. (click to enlarge)

At some point during this time period, we did refuel at the food court, which was crowded with people. I think that this was one of the biggest differences I noticed this year compared to past. Traditionally, I think when you head over to the mall at – say – 4am on Black Friday, you don’t begin to feel really hungry until 7 or 8am, after you’ve hit your destinations. This year, I felt that a lot of people (i.e. teenagers, other youngsters, non-serious Black Friday shoppers, window shoppers, and other “roadblocks”) went to the mall to hang out for an hour or two – and to grab a bite to eat. So the mall was crowded, but the stores within the mall were manageable – somewhat like busy weekend traffic. When I explored Gap, associates were straightening clothing stacks; we saw the same scene at The Children’s Place, American Eagle, and a few other stores that opened extremely early. I didn’t even have to wait in line at Elder-Beerman to buy my crystal gingerbread man – which helped to make this a completely impulsive purchase.

Scene at the mall, about 3am. (click to enlarge)

The “sad” part about shopping so early on Black Friday is that, while we scored some great deals at Toys R Us, Target, and B&BW, we missed the 5am and 6am openings of several specialty stores (including my personal favorite, The Limited). And by 4am, I was so desperate for caffeine that I waited in line for Starbucks to raise their gate. At 5am, we were nearly cooked. Our shopping excursion ended with a stop back at Toys R Us (where the checkout line was infinitely shorter than during their 9pm opening) as well as Walmart, which was empty (not merchandise-wise, but people-wise). At Walmart, not only did my friend find the items that she was after, but we walked right up to the checkout. I was shocked to see that they were even polishing the floor of the optical center. (The lesson here: if you aren’t in need of a doorbuster, wait for the initial crowd to dissipate).

In the past, it’s been tradition for us to enjoy a 9am lunch post-Black Friday shopping and call it a day. This year, though, we were so tired after our last stop that we couldn’t even fathom making it until 9am. Maybe next year!

I’d like to conclude this post with the following thoughts on this year’s Black Friday shopping experience:

–  The Buddy System Rules: Late Thanksgiving openings meant that a lot of shoppers (including yours truly) were pulling all-nighters to procure their deals. Shopping with a group kept us motivated, prevented us from falling asleep in line (and behind the wheel), and increased gift finding/buying efficiency.

–  Browsers Need Not Apply: If your goal for Black Friday is to look around and people-watch, perhaps you should find some better entertainment and roam the mall on another day. Taking up valuable parking spaces, clogging aisles, and usurping benches really only irritates Black Friday shopping pros.

–  Know Your Sales: Brush up on sales, deals, and offerings before you head to the store and have your non-expired coupons in hand (and not buried in the bottom of your pocket or purse) at the checkout. Those behind you in line will be grateful for your efficiency.

–  Night Owls Got the Doorbusters, but Early Birds Still Found Worms: It was truly physically impossible for our group to begin at 9pm on Thanksgiving and shop past 6am the next morning. Unless you were looking for a doorbuster at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, or one of the other stores opening up on Thanksgiving, beginning at 5/6am on Black Friday still afforded you a lot of deals, a few hours of sleep, and un-ransacked merchandise at those specialty stores that didn’t herald a midnight opening.

–  Remember the Spirit of the Season: Getting up early or staying up all night makes it easy to get a case of the cranky-pants. Dial down the tension and recall that [most] shoppers are in the stores to GIVE this season. If you have to fight with a fellow shopper to save few bucks on that perfect present, that present really isn’t perfect, is it?

Remember, for more Black Friday insights, you can head over to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Headquarters.

©2011, Prosper®

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