Tag Archives: consumer insights

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.

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.

CES Sum Up: The Top 5 Gadgets We Can’t Wait to Purchase

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an annual trade show where the consumer technology world goes to introduce their newest innovations to the marketplace. Some of these innovations are not necessarily going to be unleashed to the marketplace, but garner attention for the brand, such as the car-sized drone a Chinese company EHang unveiled in 2016. Here is our list of the most exciting products debuted at CES that we hope actually make it to our homes!

1) Samsung The Wall: This 146 inch TV system merges multiple borderless MicroLED TVs into one giant screen, and measures 146 inches. Due to its modular set-up, it can be customized to be smaller than 146 inches, but isn’t that the whole reason to purchase a TV named “The Wall”??

2) InstaView ThinQ refrigerator: This smart appliance features a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if users knock on it twice. It allows users to draw notes on the screen, pull up recipes and be notified of expiration dates on food. Additionally, a wide-angle camera inside allows the user to remotely view the fridge to see the current contents.

3) Foldimate: Folding laundry is everyone’s least favorite chore. Enter Foldimate. Simply feed your clothing into the top of the machine, and clothes will deposit at the bottom of the device, perfectly folded. Now if only they could automate it so users don’t have to feed the clothes—but that’ll probably be unveiled at CES ‘19.

4) Sony Aibo: For those who can’t have pets due to landlord restrictions or allergies, or if they’re just into all things robot, this robot dog was a hit at CES. It mimics the movements and activities of a real dog, even responding to touch on three specific areas: the top of its head, back and under the chin. Two cameras—in its nose and tail—help Aibo identify family members and your home environment. It would be a great addition to any household.

5) Kobi Company, Kobi: We spoke too soon; shoveling snow is the absolute worst chore. For those who dread winter and the snow removal that comes with it, Kobi will be your new best friend. This autonomous snow blower is linked with the weather forecast and will automatically begin clearing as snow starts falling, recharge, and go back to resume clearing the driveway. Even better, it comes with lawn mowing and leaf blowing attachments, so you can retire from yard work forever.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer electronics 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

Alumni Series: Health Trends (Part 1)

qSample and Alumni Reader Panel conducted a survey to discover health related trends of alumni of top national universities (please refer to the previous blog post for details regarding demographics). The findings from this survey will be divided into two blog segments:

Part 1. Basic preventive health measures/healthy lifestyle

Part 2. Spending habits on healthcare

According to a 2016 study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, less than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle”. In order to qualify as living a healthy lifestyle, following four requirements must be met: moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, a diet score in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index, a body fat % under 20 for men or 30 for women, and not smoking. Unfortunately, survey respondents were not aware of the qualifications set by Mayo Clinic, rather they were asked to answer best to their knowledge. Chart below reveals their knowledge and awareness of healthy lifestyle:

lifestyle

Average of 62.7% of the respondents either have some degree of expertise or are trusted from peers with advice on health-related issue. Moreover, in the survey, 74.1% agreed that they are constantly looking for new ways to live a healthier life. Following three charts confirm that majority of the respondents do indeed take preventive health measures (diet, exercise, and regular check-ups):

eatt habits

reg ex

reg check

In summary, 88.1% follow a healthy diet, 75.2% follow a regular exercise routine, and 84.8% visit the doctor for regular check-ups.

 

health


 

Alumni of top national universities: Buying Habits

A survey was conducted by Alumni Reader Panel and qSample to investigate the buying habits of alumni of top national universities. 1,964 respondents completed the survey. Universities represented in this survey are: University of Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Harvard,  Dartmouth, Cornell, and Brown. Succeeding three charts summarize the demographics of the respondents by each school:

age

gender

employ

In a bigger picture, 4.4% were Millennials, 23% were Generation X, 72.6% were a mix of Boomers and Silent Generation. In addition, survey respondents were predominantly males (66.5%). Prior to discussing the buying habits of alumni, an important limitation to acknowledge is that there is an insufficient amount of data to categorize the demographic of respondents from the results. For instance, if respondents were asked a question about brand loyalty and given four choices, the results were simply netted by counts. Thus, we could not identify what percentage of the total counts stemmed from which generation or gender. With that in mind, here are the findings (note: data are shown in average of eight schools as there were no significant statistical outliers – margin of error is approximately +/- 5%):

They are brand loyal:

brandloyol

91.6% of respondents agreed that when they find a brand they like, they will stick to it. Furthermore, 90.4% agreed that if a product is made by a company they trust, they are willing to purchase at a premium price. These two independent results revealed a correlation coefficient of 0.994. What this indicates is that brand loyal consumers become price desensitized, allowing the brands to obtain greater pricing power. In addition, 66.1% of consumers are aware that brand name is not the best indication of quality (see below):

QUALITY

Although the survey revealed that these consumers are highly brand loyal, behavioral data portion of the survey showed what might be advantageous to competitors with potential substitute products. 99.1% of respondents indicated that they value “curiosity wanting to explore and learn about new things”. Since a mere 25.8% agreed that they are one of the first among their friends to try new product, word of mouth (through peers) would likely be their most trusted source of advertisement.

They are willing to pay at premium for quality not image:

premium

Respondents were asked to answer the following: “I am typically willing to pay more for high-quality items” and “I would pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey”. As there is no direct correlation between these two factor, the correlation coefficient is 0.224. Although we do not have to access to the respondents’ income distribution, as 88.7% of respondents are willing to pay at premium for quality, it may be safe to assume that price is not much of a concern as long the product quality meet their standards. Interestingly, even though only 42.8% agreed to buy products to convey self-image, a striking 65% had expressed that they buy from brands that reflect their style (see below):

styleTherefore, it is critical for brands to identify the lifestyles of their target audience to effectively form bonds and trust with the consumers.

They prefer American products:

america

60.5% of respondents agreed that purchasing American-made products is an important factor. “Made in America” label has its strong manufacturing reputation, and considering that majority of these consumers value trust and quality, they are most likely willing to pay premium price for American-made products. As a matter of fact, 82.9% agreed that their purchase decision is solely based on quality rather than price.

Moving forward, blog posts will focus on buying habits and decision factors in specific industries (technology, travel/hospitality, healthcare, etc.).

buying-habits

 

 

 

 

 

Branding Trust in Healthcare

 

Trustworthiness is a major player in brand sustainability. According to 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 62% of global consumers reported that “brand trust” is the primary purchase decision driver. Of which, 72% are willing to pay a premium. Trust seems to act like a magical remedy to minimize the anxiety of risk-averse (or price-sensitive) consumers, which in turn leads to brand loyalty. Speaking of risk-aversion, there is one particular industry that absolutely cannot “screw-up”. The healthcare industry.

A 2014 study on healthcare branding found that “trust is a key variable in establishing affective commitment in consumer brand relationships” (Becerra, Jillapalli, and Kemp 133). In building a sustainable brand, trust is especially critical in this sector due to the fact that individuals surrender sensitive information to the healthcare provider, and also his or her physical and psychological well-being.

Even though trust is a critical aspect in healthcare, consumer’s industry perception begs to differ. According to 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer – Healthcare Sector Results, 61% of general population trusts the healthcare industry, which is on the lower end compared to other industries (technology being the most trusted at 75%, followed by manufacturing at 67%). What measures could be implemented to tackle this problem? Kelly Michelson, Associate Professor of pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Feinberg School of Medicine states the following:

“Research shows that open lines of communication create trust, and vice versa, and that trusting relationships are key to better healthcare outcomes. One study, for example, has shown that poor communication among the staff in a pediatric hospital influenced their trust levels and how they cared for patients. In another study, clinicians who worked in an intensive care unit were trained in how to conduct a family meeting, specifically in empathetic listening.”

Internal change is vital to cultivating a brand’s trust. As stated in Nielsen 2015 report, “Global Trust in Advertising”, with respect to earned advertising format, 83% of global consumers reported that they trust the recommendations of peers, followed by consumer opinions posted online at 66%. In terms of owned (brand-managed) format, online channels are considered to be the most trusted. 70% of global consumers trust branded websites, and more than half of respondents (56%) trust emails they signed up for.

Sources:

Becerra, Enrique, Ravi K. Jillapalli, and Elyria Kemp. “Healthcare branding: Developing emotionally based consumer brand relationships.” Journal of Services Marketing 28.2 (2014): 126-137. Print.

2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report

2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising

2016 Edelman Trust Barometer – Healthcare Sector Results

Trusting Healthcare Providers and Institutions: Key Findings

 

Download our Physician Panels book:

qSample-Physician-Panel-Book.pdf (5488 downloads)

Mind Blowing Text Messaging Statistics [Infographic]

 

Social Media may rule our lives, as qSample has demonstrated. Yet when it comes to marketing or simply engaging deeply with our audiences, email is the king of all internet media (as our president Rudly Raphael proved in his article The Dominance of Email).

The queen might be text messaging. It’s often overlooked as an efficient form of marketing, according to Small Business Trends. Regardless, the relevance of text messaging as a medium is astounding. For example, check these statistics:

  Texting is the most frequently used app on smartphones–with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day.
  More than six billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day.
  People worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in 2016 alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day or almost 16 million messages per minute.
  Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate.
  Over 80% of adults text, making it the most common phone activity.
  Text messages brag a 98% open rate, while email only delivers a 20% open rate.

For more context and awe, we present you our latest infographic (and please text your friends or colleagues about it; they’ll open it more than if you email them this data):

Mind Blowing Text Messaging Statistics

 

Download this infographic.

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A Practical Visionary: Success Insights From Netflix Founder Reed Hastings

 

Netflix is undoubtedly one of the premier brands today. The Los Gatos, California company is so culturally revolutionary it’s even made the action of abusing television something cool. The phenomenon of “binge watching” has become a clarion call for Millennials and often a mating call for Hipsters. The vast wasteland that was television is now a vast paradise of streaming on mobile devices.

Netflix has changed many perceptions as well as overcome many societal and economic shifts—remaining at the top of the brand food chain.

Much of the success of Netflix can be attributed to founder and CEO, Reed Hastings. The essence of this former vacuum cleaner salesperson and Peace Corps volunteer can be found in Scott Smith’s book, Extraordinary People. The work uses primary and secondary interviews to mine the synergetic history of Netflix and Hastings. It showcases Hastings as a complex visionary, yet at his core with a practical approach to improving the lives and experiences of those around him.

 

A Common Sense Visionary

 

 

In his book, Smith reveals that the conception of Netflix didn’t begin so much with market research but a mixture of common sense and anger—the kind many of us perhaps felt decades ago when being wallet-raped by video companies like Blockbuster. A Smith writes:

The genesis of Netflix came in 1997, when Hastings misplaced a rented videotape, Apollo 13, and was hit with a late fine of $40. Afterwards, on his way to the gym, he wondered why a rental service couldn’t work like the gym: a flat fee for members to use it as much as they wanted with no late fees.

This thought-process led to the creation of Netflix. In May 1998, Hastings offered a free trial to initial adopters of DVDs for $4 rental and $2 postage. Few signed up to pay. However, a year later, he experimented with a flat monthly subscription with no late fees. The tweak worked. By the end of 2000, Netflix boasted 239,000 customers.

The company exploded, but still needed to overcome many hurdles in those early years such as:

–  The dot-com bubble bust.
–  9/11 and the ensuing soft economy.
–  Fierce competition from giants like Amazon, Blockbuster, and Walmart.

Nevertheless, in 2002 Netflix started setting up regional warehouses to speed up DVD distribution and went public after reaching 857,000 members by the end of the year. By 2004, membership ballooned to 2.6 million.

Eventually and not too long ago, Blockbuster went out of business. In retrospect, that Apollo 13 video Hastings rented might be the most expensive video in history.

 

A Daring Visionary

 

 

In 2007, inspired by the rise of YouTube videos, Hastings made a concerted effort to make Netflix into a streaming service. He saw the writing on the proverbial wall, but unfortunately missed a step when it came to execution, and the fall was hard. To this day, many Millennials and Hipsters must shudder when thinking of the disaster, which happened as follows:

Soon after being hailed the 2010 Company of the Year, being the U.S. Postal Service’s biggest customer, and being the largest source of Internet traffic in the evening—Netflix announced it was going to restructure its DVD business as a subsidiary called Qwikster. Customers who had been receiving disks and streaming movies under the same subscription would be forced to buy the services separately with higher prices. This business shift was done to accelerate the transition of Netflix from a company renting DVDs to a streaming service.

The reaction was vastly negative. The company’s stock dropped from its all-time high of $305 the day before to $64 in November of 2011. Close to a million customers cancelled subscriptions.

“I screwed up,” Hastings admitted soon after in a blog post. “If our business is about making people happy, then I made a big mistake. I slid into arrogance based on past success.”

He also called off the plan.

We all know how the story ends, of course (binge-watching reigns supreme). Fast Company called the turnaround “the biggest comeback in entertainment history.” And here we are, with Netflix being one of the most innovating, expanding and successful companies in the world.

 

A Company Culture Visionary

 

 

Beyond good ideas and reputation management, Hastings’ other achievement is creating a “culture of entrepreneurship” in his company. Netflix is notorious for paying and treating its employees well.

As Smith writes in his book, Netflix emphasizes the qualities it seeks in employees upfront in the hiring process:

1. Judgment—You identify root causes and get beyond treating symptoms.
2. Innovation—You keep us nimble by keeping things simple.
3. Impact—You focus on great results, rather than the process.
4. Curiosity—You contribute effectively outside of your specialty.
5. Communication—You listen well so that you understand before reacting.
6. Courage—You make tough decisions without excessive agonizing.
7. Honesty—You only say things about fellow employees you would say to their face.
8. Selflessness—You share information proactively.
9. Passion—You inspire others with your thirst for excellence.

Lastly, Extraordinary People presents real life lessons for all us lesser mortals who never swore revenge on a video store:

–  Imagine your industry in 10 years and work towards that vision.
–  Deliver a high-quality customer experience no matter what. For most companies, that’s a slogan on a wall trumped by political infighting and treating front line workers as the least important.
–  Screen recruits for personality and values, not resume and technical skills. The specifics of a business can be learned by smart outsiders.
–  Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes quickly and learn lessons to prevent future errors.
–  Have a passion for whatever you do—making money is not a sufficient motive to get you through tough times.

 

Conclusion

 

 

Not everyone can be Hastings, and not everyone will work for a company like Netflix. However, everyone can use common sense marketing to find the needs of customers; and every company should understand that treating employees exceptionally more often than not fosters exceptional employees.

Stream that, Blockbuster.