Tag Archives: Consumer behavior

Summer Travel Trends: The Who, What and Where

travel

Planning a summer getaway this year? Then you’re part of the 56% of Americans who plan to take a vacation during the upcoming summer months. We know businesses and consumers alike rely on the revenue these summer jaunts bring, so we took a closer look into Americans’ spending habits during vacation season.

WHO’S TRAVELING?

Of those who plan to take time off, 92% will go away, while 8% will stay home. For most, summer vacation means family time. 87% of married couples plan to travel together, and the same number will bring their children. Among non-married vacationers, 57% will travel with friends or family, and 24% will fly solo. According to research conducted by AP-NORC, 43% of Americans won’t be taking a vacation. The top reason for skipping a trip is the cost, according to 49% of non-vacationers. 11% aren’t able to take the time off work, and 3% said they don’t like to be away from work (these folks deserve a raise).

COST

74% of Americans will be using credit to finance their next trip. According to a study by LearnVest, the average vacationer racks up $1,108 in debt to finance their trip. Half of those surveyed expect to spend less than $1,000 total for their summer holiday, while 50% plan to spend more than $1,000. Two-thirds of the respondents reported spending more on a week-long vacation than they do on a month’s rent or mortgage.

WHERE TO?

MMGY Global’s recent study showed that domestic vacations now make up 85% of American vacations, up 7 points from last year. 53% of domestic travelers plan to visit an attraction of some sort this year. While that might bring to mind an amusement park, the research indicates the top-ranking attractions are more educational, with 65% planning to visit an art or history museum, aquariums (59%) or  science museums (56%) coming before theme parks (55%).

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

While international tourism is growing at its fastest pace in seven years, the U.S. is experiencing its sharpest drop in foreign travelers since 2009. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2017 the number of arrivals to the U.S. from foreign countries was down 9.3% compared to 2016. The dip in tourism (perhaps caused by anti-foreigner rhetoric and immigration policies) has many travel and retail industries worried, as international travelers tend to stay longer and spend more than their domestic counterparts.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, including frequent travelers, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

How Weather Impacts Consumer Buying Behavior

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it means 6 more weeks of winter. While these old wives tales may seem ridiculous to some, (these people probably live in San Diego, which was voted best weather in the U.S.) the weather has a huge influence on consumer behavior, and the effects are much more extensive than the obvious rain boot and snow shovel examples. Weather affects consumers’ mood, which influences buying behavior and dictates where they purchase, what they purchase, and how much they are willing to spend.

BUYING METHOD Not surprisingly, inclement weather keeps people at home, thus hurting brick-and-mortar stores’ traffic, which is a gain for online retailers. One study found that cold or rainy days boost traffic to clothing, home, furniture and wholesale retailers by 12% compared to warm or sunny days. Conversely, on warm and sunny days, brick-and-mortar stores do more sales.

PURCHASE PRICE Whether it’s sunshine, temperature, rain or snow, weather influences consumers’ moods. A Canadian study revealed that exposure to sunlight dramatically increased levels of consumption, as well as the amount spent per item. The research showed consumers were willing to pay 37% more for green tea and 56% more for a gym membership after being exposed to sunlight. In cloudy conditions, consumers are more likely to spend more on alcohol, tobacco, and coffee.

PRODUCT DEMAND Weather prompts sales of certain products.  Aside from the obvious seasonal sales of swimwear and sunblock during the summer and coats and boots in the winter, there are other products that get more attention when the weather changes. According to a study, when temperatures hit about 65 degrees in the U.K., grocery stores see a 22% increase in the sales of carbonated drinks and a 20% decrease in juice sales. In the U.S., a one-degree drop in temperature can trigger sales of soup, oatmeal and lip balm.

USE THE WEATHER Rain or shine, it’s clear that the weather can make a difference when it comes to generating revenue, and smart companies are using this knowledge to their advantage. Pantene is one such company; by teaming up with the Weather Channel to create a campaign around products geared towards frizzy hair during humid days, they saw a sales increase of 24%.    

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

Snapchat’s Got 99 Problems and Kylie Jenner’s Just One of Them

snapchat

It’s safe to say Snapchat probably wishes Kylie Jenner was still under her self-imposed social media hiatus. Last Wednesday, she tweeted to her 24.5 million followers: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” Shares of Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., sank 6.1% on Thursday, costing Snap $1.3 billion (yes, billion) in market value. Can the social media platform bounce back, or are users done with it?

When Snapchat initially came on the social media scene, it was a way to send photos or videos, which after being viewed or played once, disappeared. Since then, it has changed immensely; it now lets you replay snaps an unlimited number of times, screenshot images if you want to save them, and save your own snaps to the Memories section of your account.

To say this recent redesign has users upset is an understatement. 1.2 million people have signed a Change.org petition asking Snapchat to revert to the old version. Common complaints are difficulty finding friends and rewatching Stories, and the Discover page, which has been replaced with featured and sponsored content. One reason why Jenner may be unhappy with the update is because it implements an algorithm to create a division between content from friends and content from publishers and celebrities, leading fewer people to see her posts. Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, Inc., responded to the backlash saying, “…one of the complaints we got was, ‘Wow, I used to feel like this celebrity was my friend and now they don’t feel like my friend anymore.’ And we’re like, ‘Exactly. They’re not your friend!’ …”

Snapchat isn’t the first social media company to upset users. When Instagram changed its logo two years ago from the classic polaroid-inspired icon to its current prismatic, abstract logo, it was largely panned by users and critics alike. Facebook encountered similar backlash when they unveiled the News Feed, leading CEO Mark Zuckerberg to draft a blog post titled “Calm Down. Breathe. We Hear You.”  

Despite the complaints, the re-design’s rollout lead to a surge in the U.S. app store charts. It went from No. 7 to No. 2 in the days after the re-design’s debut. Snapchat is making a big bet that users want to hear more from their friends than celebrities or brands (an algorithm both Facebook and Instagram have incorporated as well). And it will be interesting to see if the gamble pays off.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 20 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

Apple HomePod: Worth the Steep Price Tag?

HomePod

Apple’s HomePod has arrived. On February 9, 2018, the $349 HomePod debuted in the US, UK and Australia. Apple, who is used to being the first on the technology scene, is the late-comer to the voice assistant speaker market, launching three years after Amazon’s Echo.  And as the first consumer reviews come streaming in, whether it was worth the wait is up for debate.

While Apple CEO Tim Cook insists the HomePod isn’t competing with those other voice activated speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos One), it’s hard for consumers not to compare them. According to Cook, the speaker is meant to fill the void in the market of a quality audio experience. And it seems to do that well; with an Apple A8 chip, a large woofer (a loudspeaker designed to reproduce low frequencies) and seven tweeters, by all reports, the HomePod does provide a good home music speaker.

Now for it’s drawbacks. First, and perhaps most importantly for consumers, is it’s price. At $349, it’s the most expensive voice activated speaker on the market—by far. Amazon Echo costs $180, Google Home is $129, and a Sonos speaker is $199. Are consumers willing to pay almost double for the HomePod? Apple’s argument is that the HomePod is worth the cost because it combines smart features and great sound, but the jury is still out. Second, the only music service supported by the HomePod is Apple Music. You can rig it to work with Pandora or Spotify, but it won’t respond to voice-based commands to manage those services. Third, —and a big selling point for the other voice activated devices on the market—is the inability to order pizza, hail an Uber, or even make a phone call.

According to a recent study conducted by QuestionPro Audience, 54% of smart speaker users are concerned about security and privacy. iPhone Siri has the capability to understand only the owner of the phone, but that technology was not transferred to the HomePod. HomePod Siri will respond to anyone who speaks to it, which may cause potential privacy issues if someone else asks to listen to the owner’s messages. On the other hand, both Amazon and Google store your audio data for a period of time, but the HomePod anonymizes your data, so it cannot be traced back to your device.

Consensus: the HomePod definitely isn’t for everyone, but for those who are already tied into the Apple ecosystem, and are looking for a great sound system to play Apple Music, the HomePod won’t disappoint.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

How the Smart Speaker is Revolutionizing the Home

2017 was predicted to be the year of the smart home, and consumers are slowly integrating the new technology into their homes. With smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the soon-to-be-released Apple HomePod, consumers have many options when it comes to a digital voice assistant, and the ability to optimize and control lighting, heating, energy consumption, electronic devices and security features. Currently, 16.3% of Americans live in a smart home, and that number is expected to increase to 35.6% by 2021.

We polled over 450 respondents from our consumer panel to gauge their thoughts on the smart home. 56% of those polled feel digital voice assistant devices (such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Microsoft Cortana and Apple HomePod) will have an impact on society in the same way the iPhone has, but only 25% own one. 19% are considering purchasing one, while 60% do not feel they need a digital assistant.

Consumers have apprehension regarding the technology. 60% feel a digital assistant isn’t a beneficial addition to their household, 15% do not like the idea of a device always listening, and 6% are worried hackers could access their personal information. In fact, 55% of consumers are concerned implementing these devices into their household could lead to invasion of privacy.

There have been reports that brick and mortar retail is declining, and our data supports that theory, with only 23% of our respondents purchasing their device in-store. The Google Home was the most popular digital voice assistant (46%), followed closely by Amazon Echo (40%) and the Microsoft Cortana Invoke (7%). As for their decision to purchase a digital assistant? Consumers are hoping a digital assistant will make their life easier (46%), and 38% just think it’s a cool device. Our respondents primarily use their digital assistant to play music (15%) get the weather report (12%), create reminders for themselves (11%), or search online (9%).

46% of consumers are planning to use digital assistant devices to convert their house into a smart home in 2018, by linking up their television (23%), lighting (19%), smart speakers (16%), thermostat (14%), security camera (13%) or kitchen appliances (11%). Move over, smartphone—62% of consumers are using their smartphone less frequently after purchasing a digital voice assistant.

Below is a preview. Download the full 14-page research report here!

Super Bowl Impact on Consumer Spending

America’s favorite day to eat wings, drink beer and sit on the couch is nearly here. The first Super Bowl game was played in 1967, and over the past 51 years, has grown into quite a spectacle. This year, more than 188.5 million people are expected to tune in for Sunday’s festivities. If sports aren’t your thing, then you’re part of the 24% of Americans who watch it for the attention-grabbing commercials. And these brands are betting—very large sums of money—on consumers checking out their ads. But brands aren’t the only ones spending money during the Super Bowl. Super Bowl weekend brings in serious revenue from consumer spending for liquor stores, restaurants and grocery stores.

It’s not the Super Bowl without big-budget, star-studded commercials. NBC said it will bring in $500 million in revenue for programming on Sunday alone. According to Ad Age Datacenter, ad spending for commercials during the broadcast is estimated to be around $419 million. The average cost for a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LII is just over $5 million—that’s $168,333 per second! And it looks like the commercials are worth the expensive price tag. Adweek conducted a study that showed 49% are more likely to buy from a brand after seeing a good Super Bowl ad, and 69% are less likely to buy from a brand after seeing a bad commercial.

Consumers carry the spending momentum through from the holiday season into their Super Bowl festivities. Whether hosting a party or going to a bar, consumers are going to spend on the game. American adults are expected to spend an average $81.17 for a total of $15.3 billion, up from $14.1 billion last year. The average American hosting a Super Bowl watch party will spend around $207.16 on food, beverages, decorations and fan gear.

Super Bowl is the second biggest eating holiday in America, which bodes well for food and liquor sales. In 2017, shoppers spent $502 million on chips, $80 million on chicken wings, $100 million on meat snacks, $60 million on deli sandwiches, and $81 million on deli salads (for those health nuts). Additionally, $1.3 billion was spent on beer, $597 on wine, and $503 million on liquor. Not too bad for one weekend of sales!

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

Take Valentine’s Day Marketing Off Autopilot

The holiday marketing calendar seems to function on autopilot. After the last bit of discounted Christmas decorations are cleared from the shelves, Valentine’s Day candy and stuffed animals quickly furbish the “seasonal” aisle. Pink and red advertisements grace the windows of retail stores and pop-up Valentine’s’ Day ads for flower orders appear on our digital search screens. The turnover between the holidays is automatic and consumers are acclimated to this method. Retail industry professionals know that Valentine’s day is generally a high profiting holiday and the marketing effort behind it follows a pre-fixe methodology. Valentine’s Day sales reached a record high in 2016, but that number is expected to decrease in 2017. Retailers will need to explore new opportunities to maintain Valentine’s Day sales momentum through market research.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spending for Valentine’s Day 2017 is expected to reach $18.2 billion this year, which is down from last year’s $19.7 billion record high. The decrease in consumer spending is congruent with the decrease in people who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which has dropped from 63% in 2008 to 54% for this year. With roughly 50% of Americans considering themselves as single, retailers will have to market towards a wider audience and repackage the holiday marketing plans that move away from the cliches.

Valentine’s Day is often marketed towards couples, but consumers are also celebrating Valentine’s Day with family and friends. According to Entrepreneur, 20% of people who searched the term “Valentine’s Day Gifts For…” followed the phrase with “friends.” Also, NRF data shows that the average person is spending about $26 dollars on gifts for family members. This shows that Valentine’s Day is not just a holiday for spouse and significant others. Retailers could benefit from collecting consumer insights from their customers in order to create more effective marketing campaigns that reach a broader audience. For example, a cosmetics retailer could conduct a study to find out what are their customers’ Valentine’s day plans, how they celebrate the holiday, and their relationship status. This will help the retailer identify if they should conduct a “date night” theme campaign or one for “Valentine’s Day beauty treatments with friends.” Instead of marketing products for the holiday through traditional modules, a more inclusive approach could gain access to  a broader audience and increase sales. The “one size fits all” module needs a more creative approach to attract a broader audience.

Ultimately, marketers have grown far too comfortable with traditional Valentine’s day campaigns. In order to boost the reception of their holiday campaigns and see an upward sale trend, it is imperative to conduct market research. Research studies that gather consumer insights about how people are spending their Valentine’s Day and their shopping spending habits provide key information.  This data will help marketers develop a campaign that is relevant for today’s consumer and expand their customer base. Subsequently, retailers will see more sales during the holiday season.

If you are looking to conduct a research and need quality sample, please contact us at sales-team@qsample.com

Think Like a Consumer: Knowing your Audience

 

In today’s technology-driven landscape, consumers can have a packaged delivered to their door with a few clicks of a button and information can be disseminated across multiple platforms in a matter of seconds. The most pivotal shift is that consumers are keeping up with all of these advances with mobile phones. Today’s consumers have adopted a lifestyle where they are juggling multiple tasks, interests, and responsibilities. Retailers, media outlets, and other companies are all competing for the consumers’ attention and research panel providers are not exempt.  To attract the right respondents to join a panel, panel providers must adopt the mindset of the consumer. Consumers’ lifestyle, habits, and preferences mold the way respondents participate in research.

Moreover, social media plays a large role in the general consumer’s lifestyle and their behavior models the usage of various online technology platforms. Aside from socializing with friends and family, social platforms are a place to become informed about news, events, and products as well as share opinions.  According to a 2016 study conducted by Facebook, the average person spends about 50 minutes using Facebook or Facebook platforms daily. Social media platforms are attractive to consumers and to mirror this same magnetic approach, online panel providers must establish their company’s presence on social media platforms, to attract respondents to participate in research.

It is imperative that the platforms that respondents utilize align with the convenience consumers are accustomed to when using social media or other mobile platforms. Consumers have become acclimated to simplified platforms that are easy to use on both computers and mobile devices. It is important to match this same sense of convenience, even when it comes to research data collection.

In sum, the ability to think like a consumer and become familiar with the audience will attract respondents to participate in a panel and ultimately increase response rates to studies. The general consumer is gathering information, making purchases, and socializing in a fast paced environment that is accessible through online platforms and mobile devices. The attraction to platforms that are fast and simple has become a standard expectation. Research panel providers use this familiarity with the consumer as a way to recruit panelist, keep them engaged, and ultimately increase survey response rates for clients.

 

Market Research is the Key Ingredient

As usual, Amazon is on the move and presenting even more great ideas. In 2017, we have plenty to look forward to when it comes to shopping. Amazon will be opening the Amazon Go store to the public in early portion of the new year. The store will be like no other grocery store. There will be no cashiers, instead shoppers will use a mobile app to enter the store, gather what they need, and walk out. This takes artificial intelligence to the next level as innovative  “walk out technology” will track what  customers placed in their shopping bags and charge their Amazon accounts for those items. They are also making strides in their drone delivery system as well . The company’s first commercial drone delivery was announced last week. As large companies like Amazon strives towards creating an easy and fast shopping platform for users, these concepts leave room to be explored through market research. Amazon is accelerating technology and influencing consumer behavior. To complete these tasks effectively and keep the momentum going, an intense amount of market research is necessary.

With every new technological update or product release, there is a sense of unpredictability with how the consumer will react. This is where market research becomes pivotal. Conducting research before, during, and after the update can help understand the consumers’ mindset and the market conditions that affect their habits. Market research can also help shape and mold product revamps. Amazon is currently conducting research internally with their employee base. The Amazon Go store is currently open to Amazon employees, this a way to test the store before it opens to the public. Once the store is open to the general population, it would be helpful to gather a diversified sample of people who have been to the store and people who have not. Collecting their thoughts and opinions through an online platform could be beneficial in understanding what would draw more people to become customers.

 

Consumers’ behavior is also being influenced by Amazon’s innovations. This behavior is always changing due to what is made available in the marketplace. We have seen the preference of visiting brick and mortar facilities ebb and flow as online shopping has made great advancements. Amazon has ventures in both of these avenues and because of their impact on the market, it directs consumers towards their products. For example, the drone delivery service fuels the consumer’s’ need for immediacy. Although consumers are constantly shopping online, they still want the sense of immediacy achieved when they are shopping in-store. The drone delivery system marries the comfort and ease of online shopping with the sense of immediate access. However, Amazon will still need to conduct more market research to understand how consumers perceive their idea. With mixed emotions regarding the use of drones, market research could be conducted with a sample of the general population to gather public opinion. Amazon could also gather information to establish a price point for the service that  consumers would find acceptable, whether than the consumer resulting to other delivery methods.

 

Ultimately, market research is the key ingredient for a company to be successful. When new products or services are  introduced into the marketplace, in-depth market research offers insights into the consumers’ mindset and predictions on how the product or service will be perceived. Market research can help a company make changes or updates that fit the consumers’ lifestyle as well as show how much they are willing to pay for it. Companies like Amazon who are constantly releasing new innovations can benefit from collecting information through on-line sample.

———————————–

For more information on how to conduct market research with online sample, reach out to sales-team@qsample.com

Pink Tax: Building The Gender Price Gap?

 

When it comes to marketing for the female consumer there are endless possibilities. Major industries such as the fashion and beauty industry have honed in on the buying power of women and are making significant profits; more than 460 billion USD a year.  Female consumers are eager to experiment with new gadgets while staying on top of the latest trends in the industry, this why industries often release a wider variety of product offerings for women. Consequently, this has created a significant increase in consumer spending. According to the Harvard Business Review, 85 percent of all consumer spending in the US is influenced by women. With women driving most of the consumer spending, companies have taken the opportunity to add a premium price to personal care products such as razors and shampoo. This increase in price on the female version of these items has created a gender price gap known as “The Pink Tax”.

The Pink Tax is most commonly found on personal female hygiene products but has also been implemented in some service industries. According to a study conducted by The New York Department of Consumer Affairs, shampoos and conditioners marketed towards women cost an average of 48% more than those targeted for their male counterparts. Overall the study found that items advertised for females cost 42% more than those marketed towards men. Additional research done by the state of California, shows that women spend $1351 more on items and services that are not specifically women-oriented. For example, dry cleaner’s charge more to clean a woman’s shirt than a man’s shirt due to size and fabric. The premium price added to female products and the gender price gap women face have stirred the conversation on how manufacturers and marketers can reduce the pink tax phenomenon.

There are some logical reasons why women’s products cost more than men’s, even when those items look similar. For instance, manufacturers have expressed that most of women garments require more workmanships than their male equivalent. Also, the increase competition between brands in the female category justifies manufacturers increasing the price on female items; due to the high cost associated with marketing to women. In the digital era that we live today where consumers are experiencing content shock, marketers need to increase their efforts to stand out in a pool of brand pictures and names. However, this leaves the female consumer paying for the industries’ extra marketing efforts. Women are spending a significant amount for personal care needs and services just because marketers want to capitalize on gender based products.

While is true that companies have seen major avenues to target female consumers, this should not be synonymous with higher prices on basic female care products.  Congresswoman Jackie Speier has aimed to put an end to gender product pricing.Speier introduced the Pink Tax Repeal Act—a bill that prohibits companies from charging different prices for similar products or services simply based on gender. Women have also taken their opinion to social media calling for an end to the gender price gap under the hashtags #pinktax, #genderpricing, and #gendertax. A step needed since not all female consumers are aware of the so called pink tax. Also, under this campaign conscious buyers have vowed to not  purchase female care products that have a male alternative.

Marketing towards the female consumer represents several challenges for today’s marketers. Since competition in the fashion and beauty industry is fierce, company’s need to increase their marketing efforts in order to make an impact on their consumers. However, through this process, the female consumer’s wallet has been negatively impacted by the introduction of higher prices in basic care products and services.

In sum, both women and men want the same result out of most personal care products. They both want shampoo that keeps their hair conditioned and razor that offers a close shave. Lifting the gender binary on these products and simply selling the products based on product results could add a sense of neutrality in price. The reduction of the Pink Tax relies on understanding where in the supply chain is the pink tax being incurred and how can it be reduced. The introduction of new marketing strategies is also imperative, in order to diminish the cost associated with marketing towards women.