We recently conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to explore consumer’s online decision-making process, in which over 320 respondents participated in the survey. The findings reveal that the majority of respondents find online review to be a critical piece to their purchasing decision.
Respondents who participated in the survey fall in the following demographic bracket:
– Male (44%), Female (56%)
– Millennial (22%), Generation X (40%), Boomer (31%), Silent (7%)
– Urban (55%), Suburban (34%), Rural (11%)
How do they surf the web?
In general, the most popular platform of web surfing is computer, as indicated by 63% of the respondents, followed by phone (25%) and tablet (12%). When cross-tabulated this particular dataset with age/generation data, we found out that phone usage, in terms of web surfing, declines by increase in age.
Interestingly, when it comes to surfing the web on tablet PCs, the data reveals that baby boomers were far ahead of other generations. This perhaps should be a sign for businesses to optimize their web pages for various mobile platforms, regardless of their customer base.
Do they trust online reviews?
98% of the respondents indicated that they generally trust online reviews, and they develop higher confidence with the product or service after reading 6 or more reviews, which are posted within a month. Millennials and Generation X respondents tend to read more reviews (11+) before making a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, when they were asked if they trust online reviews as much as peer recommendations, a striking 84% of the respondents agreed that they do.
Where do they read reviews?
42% of the respondents indicated that they find the reviews through major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), followed by Amazon at 28% and major social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) at 21%. Surprisingly, while Yelp is considered to be a popular business review resource, only 6% of our respondents indicated that they use Yelp for business review. Other sources included consumer reports and manufacturer websites.
92% of the respondents indicated that they find better deals as a result of reading online reviews. Our data revealed that social media sites ranked as number one places for discount deals, followed by Amazon and search engines.
Our findings is further illustrated in the infographic below:
qSample conducted a survey with its general consumer panel to gauge consumer’s behavior on the topic of “preventive health”. More than 314 respondents participated in the survey. We summarized the findings of the survey report in the infographic below:
qSample surveyed alumni from Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, UPenn, Yale, Dartmouth, and UChicago to find out what their purchase preferences for technology products are like. Below is a summary of the findings:
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:
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:
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):
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:
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):
Therefore, 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:
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.).
Power and flexibility of social media sites should not be undermined. Among many usage of these sites, the lesser known is that they serve as an emerging source of data for public health studies, including mental health (Schrading et al.).
According to a study on domestic abuse disclosure on a social media site, Schrading et al. reported that this site offers “less intimidating and more accessible channels for reporting, collectively processing, and making sense of traumatic and stigmatizing experiences”. One such site is Reddit.
Reddit is a popular social news and entertainment media launched in 2005. As of 2015, Reddit has amassed 36 million user accounts and 234 million monthly unique visitors. This site has a vast range of forums dedicated to various topics, known as “subreddits”. Its forum-style social system allows users to share texts and media as posts that allow votes and comments. Unlike Twitter, Reddit allows lengthy submissions.
Given the unique characteristics of the site, Reddit acts as a support system for mental health suffers, which provides a platform for self-disclosure, social support, and anonymity. Users may interact anonymously and become connected with others who share similar difficulties, misery, pain, condition, or distress (Choudhury & De).
Moreover, each subreddit is moderated by online community volunteers. For sensitive subreddit topics that are related to mental health and illnesses, their main role is to ensure that “the anonymous submitter has access to local help hotlines if a life-threatening situation is described” (Schrading et al.).
In essence, Reddit is a comfortable and safe space for people who cannot disclose their mental health experiences due to social stigma. Even for ones who are simply willing to share a piece of their own life story to help others.
Infographic below summarizes key findings and statistics in relation to this topic:
Comedian George Burns famously said, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”
College students are taking Burn’s advice, it seems, focusing on the future with an attentive, pragmatic yet positive eye. They want successful careers more than anything, care little about popularity, and social media is not the great democratizer but just another neutral avenue in life.
These are the findings from qSample’s latest study, presented here in an infographic. The study was conducted using our college student sample, surveying more than 200 participants on a range of social and economic topics. Respondents were accessed from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses by clients. The findings can also be found in our post College Students Optimistic About Economic Future.
The qSample research should give hope for the country’s future (and certainly relevant with graduation season around the corner). Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they dominate the labor force. Therefore, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with student debt and not enough salary growth.
Please enjoy our infographic and please enjoy spending the rest of your life in the future:
Content marketing has become increasingly attractive to many businesses and brands seeking to expand their web presence. But what is content marketing and how does it work—beyond being a sleek buzzword in cyberspace? Can it work for those in the earthly construction industry?
In essence, content marketing is any marketing involving the creation and sharing of media content to help and inform customers—ultimately with the goal of acquiring and retaining them. It takes a variety of forms including news, videos, white papers, ebooks, infographics, how-to guides, and blog posts.
Content marketing is viewed as solely functioning on the internet, but that’s not necessarily the case. One of the primal forms of content marketing would be the famed Michelin Guide, published over a century ago.
And yes, content marketing can be beneficial to those in the construction industry seeking to expand their online branding and generate traffic.
One of the main reasons content marketing is beneficial is because it’s currently seen as an essential aspect of any internet marketing and its continual paradigm changes. After all, it was marketing guru, Seth Godin, who said, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
Those are bold words, but these are bold online times. As examples, 88 percent of B2B marketers in North America already use some form of content marketing, while 76 percent of overall marketers are increasing investment in content marketing in 2016. All trends point to the financial rewards of content marketing.
Centering on the construction industry, a prime example of content marketing success can be found in a case study by Delta Marketing Group involving commercial contractor company, North Country Mechanical Insulators (NCMI). By using a sound inbound marketing strategy, NCMI increased its organic web traffic by an astounding 200 percent, as well as rank in the first page of Google under its preferred keyword (“mechanical insulation”). NCMI achieved this by optimizing its pages for local keyword search, rebranding its online persona via content as an “energy advocate,” and escalating its social media presence, among other strategies.
Adding to this, our research reveals that only 26 percent of general contractors utilize any form of online marketing. In other words, the internet is wide open to fill with traffic-generating content.
Content marketing is the future now, and construction companies should further pay heed for these three reasons:
1. CHANGING CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY
It’s no secret that everyone is flooded with more information than ever before. The average American is bombarded with five times more information than he or she saw 15 years ago. It is more of a secret, though, that consumers have become anesthetized to unwanted information. Furthermore, mobile technology has shrunk the space to advertise in and Ad block technology has made it easier to expel intrusive advertising from screens.
Look at it this way: Once banner ads were ubiquitous across the internet, and the investment paid off for many companies. That’s no longer the case. According to recent data from marketing company HubSpot, the average click-through rate of display ads is merely 0.1 percent.
Content marketing is the answer to this, bringing the buyer down the sales funnel by adding value, education, and entertainment in their purchasing journey.
2. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Just as consumers have become more nimble at avoiding traditional marketing, they have also become more cynical as they navigate a vast field of brands wanting their attention on the internet. It’s just not enough for companies to explain how great they are—they have to show them.
This is where thought leadership comes in. Company heads can highlight their knowledge and expertise via articles, videos, infographics, and other elements of content marketing. This not only improves a brand, but it also assists and educates consumers—ultimately making them more grateful, trusting, and potentially closer to the contact form when it comes time to make a buying decision.
Search Engine Optimization remains key in any form of internet marketing. A good construction company craves the highest possible ranking on Google and other search engine providers (and the case study mentioned above made it a reality with NCMI). One way to rank is to spend inordinate amounts of money to remain on the first page of a search engine. The other is to utilize content marketing.
Content marketing is, at its core, about creating relevant content. The more valuable content created with relevant keywords, the higher the chance a website has of being indexed by search engines. Furthermore, more videos created can be noticed on YouTube, more infographics drawn can be shared on Social Media, and more guides published can be downloaded from a site into the hard drive of potential customers.
BEYOND THE CONTENT
Beyond the mentioned, content marketing is useful for branding, public relations, and even networking. This type of marketing is traditionally more cost-effective than other internet marketing, although distribution depends on a company’s needs (AdWords, Social Media displays, etc.). A construction company does not need an agency to successfully content market—simply a dedicated staff and owner that want to share their insights and passion with the industry.
At the end of the day, content marketing benefits consumer needs and forges a bond between brand and customer. That’s never a bad form of marketing …
Considering buying a Christmas stocking for your cat/dog? No need to question your sanity, you are far from alone.
The overwhelming majority of pet owners say they treat their dogs and cats like family. Pet owners are projected to spend more than $5.5 billion on pet related gifts this holiday season, which is close to 10 percent of the total amount consumers are projected to spend on their pets.
To gain further insight into such an astounding consumer trend, qSample conducted a survey among more than 350 participants from qSample’s own Pet Owner Panel.
According to the results, 38 percent of respondents plan to spend $21-$50 on their pet this holiday. Nearly 20 percent plan on spending more than $51 on their companion’s gift.
Retailers have certainly taken notice of the increase in spending. With each passing year, owners can choose from more and more pet products and gifts. New trends, highlighted by the American Pet Product Association, include new offerings from retailers that have been focused on human products. Companies like Ralph Lauren (now selling dog sweaters), Omaha Steaks (new steak pet treats), and Paul Mitchell (new pet hygiene products).
The majority of respondents, 37 percent planned to purchase toys and 22 percent will buy a toy that distributes food or treats. When purchasing food or treats, 37 percent say that the number one factor in their purchasing decision is whether their pet likes the product or not, 28 percent look for organic, all-natural or grain-free options, 13 percent look at brand name as their key determinant and 12 percent consider pricing first.
Most of the survey’s respondents, 49 percent, planned to purchase these gifts at a physical pet specialty store. 19 percent plan to purchase online and 11 percent will purchase from auction sites, veterinary clinics, pet shelters/rescue groups or another venue.
The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales will increase 4.1% this year or to a total of $616.9 billion. This includes in-store, direct-to-consumer, kiosk and online sales. If this number is correct, the 2014 shopping season could be the best one that retailers have seen in over a decade.
With the number of stores open on Thanksgiving Day increasing, the number of shoppers coming out early to get deals has also increased. NRF data estimates that 44.8 million consumers shopped on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. This number is up by 27% from the previous year and millennials represent more than 43% of that number. Millennials spent 13% more than the other generations over Thanksgiving weekend. 83% also shopped for themselves over Thanksgiving weekend.
A recent study from Hanover research reveals that that millennials live and shop in the moment, often making purchases and dealing with the repercussions later. The study also shows that 52% of Millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation. They prefer to purchase with digital media in hand and they don’t stop spending in a recession-only 20 percent of Millennials reported spending less on apparel during the most recent economic downturn.
Several factors which should increase spending this year include:
Weather– Last Fall and Winter, much of the US was experiencing bad weather during the shopping season. Although part of the Eastern United States currently is buried in snow, the majority of the States are experiencing mild weather.
Utility Spending– Due to a mild summer, many consumers spent less on utilities and have more money for spending.
Government Shut-Down- On October 1, 2013, a partial government shut-down was put in place. The 16-day-long shutdown was the third-longest government shutdown in the U.S. and 2.9 million people were put on job furlough.
Employment Rates– More people are employed this year and disposable income increased 4% each month this summer.
Consumer Confidence– Most surveys are showing that confidence on the part of consumers has improved.
Gasoline Prices– In the past couple of months, gasoline prices have dropped and may provide more spending money for the holidays.
Gen Xers are knowledgeable shoppers who use information to guide their decisions and Baby Boomers tend to purchase based on practicality. These generations will likely keep budget more in mind this holiday season.
It’s the time of the year when Christmas lists are written and many children put a puppy on their wish list. According to the ASPCA, of the 3.9 million dogs entering shelters each year, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs are returned to their owner. According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each).
With the relinquishing and euthanasia rates unacceptable to many, it’s a good idea to research as much as possible before obtaining a dog. Dogs should be a friend for life-not a temporary companion.
Evaluating lifestyle and doing research on what type of dog breed that will fit lifestyle can be a challenge. Yes, there are online quizzes to help match a breed of dog to a specific lifestyle. The quizzes usually look at owner needs, size of dog desired, energy levels, care needs, temperament and trainability. Those quizzes and some pre-knowledge of breed types and their common behavior can greatly assist the search for a compatible match.
Dogs are available through pet stores, breeders, animal shelters, and sites including Pet Finder, Hannah the Pet Society and others that link potential pet parents to animal shelters and rescue groups. There is even an app for the iPhone called BarkBuddy that lists 250 thousand available pets from 2500 different rescue organizations.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are 339 internationally recognized dog breeds.
Purebred dogs tend to be more expensive, but it’s easier to know the characteristics and behaviors for those breeds. It is harder to determine behavior for mixed breeds (generally called mutts), but with a basic knowledge of breed characteristics and a veterinarian’s or shelter’s determination of the dominate breed within the dog, potential behavior issues may come to light.
Before purchasing or adopting, learn more about the background of the dog, if possible. Training, living conditions and parental temperaments can all affect dog behaviors beyond natural breed characteristics. Abandoned, abused, and neglected animals will behave differently than a pup raised in a loving, safe place. Purebred dog breeding in the USA is a multibillion dollar business every year and although many cities have recently cracked down on puppy mills and those who overbreed dogs, knowing a dog’s background will help with potential training or behavior issues.
Here are some top common breeds and the characteristics that they usually have in common.
Labrador Retrievers have ranked the top dog breed in the US in both 2013 and 2012 (among other years). Labs are not small, they can be 55-75 pounds, and do require regular grooming, but these gentle, devoted family dogs are easy to train and are also popular for sportsmen. Labs tend to be outgoing, loyal and good with children and other animals.
Lab hybrids are also popular breeds. One example is the Labradoodle, which is a mix of lab and poodle. Some labradoodles don’t shed as much as other dogs, which is appealing for those with allergies or with an aversion to hairy floor and furniture. Labradoodles share many of the same traits as labs and poodles, including high intelligence. Labs and hybrids tend to be high-energy dogs and require regular exercise to keep them engaged and well-behaved.
A medium sized dog, and fifth in 2013 AKC listings is the Bulldog. Bulldogs tend to be 40-50 lbs, and require minimal grooming and exercise. They are good family dogs because they are gentle, protective, and tend to form strong bonds with children. Bulldogs come in a variety of colors, and there are English, American and French bulldog types. The French Bulldog is usually smaller and can top the scale at 20 pounds or less. They all get along with other animals, and children, but bulldogs don’t generally have long lifespans. They also tend to rack up more veterinary bills than other breeds.
A small and popular breed of dogs is the dachshund. Dachshunds were ranked tenth in the 2013 dog breed statistics. These dogs can range from 16-32 pounds, and depending on the type, may require regular grooming. Despite their small size, this breed needs moderate exercise, and are stubborn, which can make them harder to train. Dachshunds can be loving, playful, and good with children. They can also be aggressive towards other animals, and strangers as well. Being a hound breed, they do tend to follow their noses and may need more supervision than other dogs.
There are many different types of dog breeds so the first thing is to determine what one’s needs are before purchasing or adopting. Going to a dog park, animal shelter, or asking others is an easy way to learn about different types. It’s easy to be captivated by a cute puppy, but puppies grow up and become dogs. Dogs do generally mature and mellow with age as well, so adopting a senior dog might be a good option if a puppy sounds overwhelming.
Having a dog can be good for health, and there are studies linking longer and healthier lifestyles with owning a pet. According to CNCA Health, a survey of more than 11,000 people found that pet owners made 15- 20 percent fewer visits to the doctor each year than non-pet owners. And numerous studies have shown that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, relieve feelings of depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety, and even boost self-esteem.
Having a dog breed that matches the needs and activity level of a family is beneficial for both owner and dog, and creates a healthier and happier home for everyone.