Tag Archives: consumers

Cutting Costs on High Tech Gear and Electronics

Consumers desire the latest electronics and high tech gear, but unfortunately cost can be prohibitive. Savvy consumers have blogs, websites and books dedicated to saving money both for the home and business. Here are a few non-traditional and creative ways to save money when it comes time to buy the needed items to outfit an office or the latest technology gadget.

 

Online Auctions

Online auctions claim to save buyers anywhere from 25%-75% on all sorts of items. One online auction generating attention is Quibids It’s free and easy to create an account but in order to bid, one must first purchase 100 bids at 60 cents a bid. Smaller bid packages may be purchased after the initial purchase. Items can be placed on a watch list to track selling prices at certain times. We saw two remote-controlled cars sell for vastly different amounts. In the early afternoon it sold for one bid (60 cents) and later that evening sold for 240 bids.

 

If one loses a bid on an item, QuiBids will sometimes offer the item at a Buy Now price, and will subtract the bids already placed on that item. For instance a $50 gift card that had $40 worth of bids already might be available to purchase at the remaining cost of $10.

 

Auctions are not a guarantee of lower prices, but often a creative way to try to buy high priced items at lower costs. All items on QuiBids are new and items ship for free within the U.S.

 

Use Online Shopping Carts

Another way to save money is to shop on-line at sites like Amazon. Items can be placed in a shopping cart for later and will adjust as the price either drops or rises. Amazon Prime membership will also save money on the item price and get two-day free shipping on Prime items. Overstock.com often offers cheap shipping as well.

 

In addition, if you place items in an online shopping cart but do not complete the purchase, you may receive an email within a couple of days offering you a discount on the items in your shopping cart. It’s the store’s way of following up to close a sale.

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Planning and Patience

A tried and true way to save money on electronics and high tech gear is to plan ahead. During the year there are times when high priced items are on sale. Televisions, cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, computers and more have yearly sale times, especially when new models come out.

 

It’s good to research before purchasing. Consumer Reports has a list of which items commonly go on sale and when so that you can better plan in advance. For instance, computers are a popular sale item before school starts and TVs in January. You can also avoid spending hundreds at once when you buy an item by pre-buying gift cards in smaller amounts to save up for a particular item. Purchase gift cards at many retail outlets as well as online via Google Play, Apple, Best Buy, Amazon and more.

 

Gift cards can also be used anytime, including during Black Friday sales weekend. Stores advertise specials on everything, including electronics. Long lines may deter consumers from Black Friday sales, but it’s worth researching what items stores are selling at discounted prices as often you can get items for pennies on the dollar. Buying gift cards ahead saves you spending the full amount all at one time.

 

Ask

A great way to have the latest smartphone and save on monthly bills is to ask the phone carrier if there are deals, upgrades or discounts available. Customer service agents work hard to create customer loyalty by offering discounts, deals, and reviewing bills to make sure consumers are getting the best rates. Many big phone companies offer deals and discounts to keep customers happy (this also applies to cable/satellite and internet services) and you will never know-unless you ask. Remember the person on the other end of the phone wants to sign new people up and make sales.

 

Saving money is a strategy that can be applied to every aspect of business, including keeping up on the latest products that help save time, money and manpower. High priced technology and electronics can be made more affordable by research, planning and patience.

Access Over Ownership: Consumers Prefer Media Subscription

As the media world continues to focus on instant access and mobility, consumers are choosing subscription services to rent movies, TV shows, games, and music instead of purchasing them. Since the advent of the digital revolution, consumers seem to place a higher demand on access to media, rather than actually owning it. Media subscription services are more popular than ever, and qSample decided to find out why people choose the services that they do.

A survey of over 500 consumers was fielded during the first weeks of June to gauge perception, attitude, and preferences on the subject of media subscriptions. The results indicated that price and variety were the leading factors in how consumers value subscriptions. While, “more options”, was the reason that 34 percent valued those services, 38 percent picked their subscription based on price. This could suggest that consumers are much more interested in options and price, than in image, service quality, and other factors. Our survey showed that 63 percent of media subscribers pay less than $20 for their services each month, or roughly $1.50 per day. That’s less than most people pay for coffee each morning. The survey also indicated that 89 percent of consumers use subscription services at least once per week. This would suggest that the vast majority are actually paying $1.50-$5 per week for each day they use their subscription, and up to $9 each week for the days that they’re not using those services.

Media Sub 1

Consumers preferred the subscription pricing system over all others. In fact, 57 percent chose subscriptions over the free (paid for by sponsors/ads), pay what you want, and freemium pricing systems. This could be due to the simplicity of subscriptions, a lower price point, or even the negative attitudes that people typically adopt towards commercials. It’s more likely that this is indication of the consumer’s increasing desire for access to media, instead of ownership.

Sponsors and advertisements do play a key role in how many people view media. 43 percent of consumers surveyed felt advertisements devalue TV and Movies. Another 24 percent thought that ads and sponsors devalue games and music, while 29 percent felt that advertisements didn’t lower the value of media at all.

Consumers use their subscriptions on many devices, but even with advancements in smartphone and tablet technology, our survey showed that 28 percent still prefer laptops. Unsurprisingly, digital was the most popular format, and it was also the most used, but 27 percent indicated that they still use physical subscription options such as CD’s and DVD’s which are mailed to them.

Media Sub 2

Google Play was perceived as having the highest value for audiophiles, but Spotify was only used by 6 percent. It was valued highly by just 4 percent. Interestingly, Netflix was chosen for having the most value, not just for TV watchers, but in the entire category of media subscription services. According to the survey, 56 percent felt that Netflix offered the highest value over all. Amazon Video on Demand was a distant second with only 10 percent, and only 5 percent preferred Redbox. An equal number of Gamers chose Playstation Plus and Xbox Live as the service with the most value, which may indicated that Microsoft is recovering from the difficult launch of the Xbox One.

This is the age of access. Technology has grown at a staggering rate, and consumers are no longer demanding to own their media as they did before. People embrace the subscription system for its ease and simplicity, but price and options are the factors that can make or break a subscription company. No one understands this better than Netflix, the king of the industry, but for competitors, innovation and insight into what the consumer really wants could overthrow Netflix’s rule. Let’s not forget what happened to Blockbuster. No one can stay on top unless they know their consumers.
Media Sub 3

Will Office for iPad Make Tablets the Tool for Work?

Last month, Microsoft shook the tablet world by finally launching its Office for iPad apps, and the reverberations may be felt for years to come.

While tablets have become extremely popular, with many users preferring smaller to bulky and more awkward laptops, they have yet to truly find their niche in the business world. Even with bluetooth keyboards, and writing tools like Google Docs and iWork, many businesses refuse to adopt the device as a serious business tool. In the academic arena, many students prefer tablets for note taking and research, but find it awkward to use for papers and presentations. The launch of Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps is designed to change all that.

We conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to gauge their level in the new Microsoft Office for iPad app. The survey was fielded in less than 2 days during the first week of April, with more than 400 respondents sharing their insights on this new product and what it means to them professionally.

Survey results clearly indicate that tablets are still very popular with the general populaltion. Unsurprisingly, Apple was king among those devices with  almost half (40.45%) of our panel indicated they own a version of the iPad, but a mere 26.18% claim their primary uses for those tablets are for work and school. Confirming our suspicions, we found that entertainment rules the tablet world, with a staggering 69.12% of our panel logging on for fun. As always, internet surfing, watching videos, and updating social network pages continue to be a staple of tablet use.

Clearly this isn’t a hardware issue, and many who own Apple devices, such as the iPad, prefer to use the Microsoft Office software. This suggests that the new apps will be very well received by tablet owners, but there is a lot more involved than ease of use. Our survey showed that there was a strong positive reaction to the Office for iPad apps, as 63.02% said that they plan on using the new apps now that they are available, yet 76.56% didn’t feel that the apps were worth the $99 subscription fee. This is likely due to the abundance of less powerful, but free, programs/apps that will allow users to run similar tasks. Price does seem to play an enormous role, as 64.58% of our panel is considering the free Microsoft Office smartphone apps as a serious alternative. This poses the question of whether or not smartphones may find a place as a document editing tool in the business world as well.

The smartphone apps may be free, but lack many important features that are available on the iPad and laptop versions. In addition to features, portability seems to be a factor. Today’s “on-the-go” lifestyle means that document editing on a smartphone may be preferable to carrying a bulky laptop, or even a tablet. On the down side, small screens and lack of features may discourage users from choosing apps like Office for smartphones, even if they’re free. Our panel was also concerned about storage space on their devices. These apps can take up a considerable amount of space on users’ iPads, and 67.71% claimed that this alone would discourage them from downloading the software.

Cloud services have been available for some time, but there is no question that Microsoft has arrived very late to the game. This may be due to the company’s efforts to streamline their products for unconventional devices, or a simple lack of attention to the tablet market. In either case, this is definitely an interesting move for Microsoft. One pitfall of releasing the apps for the iPad is that this may have a negative effect on the sales of non-Apple tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface. In addition, the Office for iPad apps are significantly better looking and much more streamlined than other versions. This may influence which tablets businesses buy for their employees, and ultimately hurt Microsoft’s Surface sales as well. Apple will receive a percentage of Office 365 subscription fees sold through iTunes, which will also add to the funding of their competition. All of these factors make the late release of the Office for iPad apps a very interesting decision. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s new launch was a brilliant strategy, or too-little-too-late, but in any case, the world is taking a second look at the tablet as a serious business tool.

Microsoft Office for iPad Infographic (3)

An Ivy League Of Their Own

What do 5 of the last 7 presidents and 100% of the Supreme Court Justices have in common?  They graduated from Ivy League universities.  Ivy League graduates are truly in a league of their own.  With a median household income of over $190,000 and a median net worth of $900,000, Ivies are a uniquely influential and affluent demographic, making them particularly appealing to marketers.

This November, the Ivy League Magazine Network and qSample teamed up to survey readers from the eight Ivy League Magazines. Partial results from the survey is depicted in the infographic below. The online study consists of data collected from more than 1500 survey participants. Each reader panel is comprised entirely of graduates from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

Readers of the Ivy League Magazines find real value in the alumni publication, with over 85% indicating that the magazine has helped them to become successful.  The relationship of mutual respect between panelists and publication fosters high response rates and honest responses from participants.

Over 75% of respondents are active on social media.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the 2 most popular social media sites among participants, with 60% on Facebook and 56% on LinkedIn.  However, usage of social media varied from panel-to-panel with Brown Alumni more like to use Facebook 69%.

Giving back is important to the Ivy League Panel participants with 77% indicating that they volunteer in their community, while 43% do so on a regular basis.

Ivy League Magazine Panel respondents are both affluent and influential among peers in consumer spending categories such as personal technology, automobiles, travel and financial services.

Over the next 12 months, 76% of participants own or plan to purchase a smartphone and 70% own or plan to purchase a tablet computer.  Among smartphone users, iPhone and Android operating systems are the most popular operating systems with 63% of respondents using iPhones and 20% Android.

Ivy League Magazine Panel respondents have the real spending power to make luxury purchases such as high-end vehicles and international travel.  Over the next 12 months, 21% of respondents own or plan to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle and 34% own or plan to purchase a luxury automobile.

Panelists are frequent travelers with 99% of respondents planning to travel for either business or leisure within the United States this year.  Fifty-eight percent plan to travel to Europe, 17% to Asia and 20% plan to take a cruise.

With a median net worth of over $900,000, Ivy League Magazine readers strategically invest and protect their finances.  Over the next 12 months, 84% of respondents own or plan to invest in mutual funds, 80% own or plan to invest in stocks, 73% own or plan to purchase money market accounts and 71% own or plan to purchase life insurance.

In an Ivy League of their own, Ivy League Magazine Panel men and women have a uniquely affluent profile, difficult to find in any research panel.  The Ivy League survey is part of qSample’s EDU Intelligence series on educational research. The survey consists of more than 30 questions ranging from smart phone usage, financial investment, travel, philanthropy, social media, etc. To learn more about the EDU Intelligence series, email sales-team@qsample.com.

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