Tag Archives: sample

Spoiling Spot: Holiday Gifts for Pets

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.

by Connor Duffey

 

PetHolidayGiftographic

 

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.

HiTechmoney

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.

Social Media Users Earn Less

A recent study conducted with qSample’s general consumer panel reveals that more than 60% of respondents surveyed access Facebook 3-6 times a day. Results also show those who are logged in that frequently earn an income of $50,000 or less per year.

The survey was conducted during the last week of September, with more than 400 respondents participating.  Among those who completed the survey, their employment status were as followed –  41% are employed full-time by a company other than their own, 17% are retired and 13% are self-employed. Others label themselves as full-time homemakers, full-time students or chose “other” for employment status.

Compared to Facebook usage, respondents use other social media sparingly. They report using other social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pintrest and Instagram only a few times a month. And their main reason for using Facebook? Over 66% say that their primary reason is to connect with friends and family while16% use it for entertainment purposes. Please see the infographic below for additional survey results.

Social Media Users Earn Less400

Originally, Facebook’s enormous user retention success was partly due to the member’s ability to post, share and save pictures. Although some sites originally based on text have since added this capability (with Twitter on board only within the past two years), users seem to spend more time on the platform than any other social media sites.

Twitter has tried to replicate the activities of Facebook in allowing the addition of pictures to updates, changing each user’s homepage to stream updates, making media visible within that stream, and (more recently) tagging pictures with user’s names in hopes of increasing usage of the site.

Results from our survey also indicated that over half (51%) of the respondents use social media between 5:00pm-11:00pm and they are choosing the time brackets of noon-4PM and 9:00am-11:00am as secondary options.

Although several of these stats are not surprising, it’s a great idea to always keep up with what the consumer is thinking, and perhaps sometimes delve into why they think they way that they do. Here’s why:

The more marketers tune into consumers and their target audiences, the better they can hone specific messaging to draw them in. As an example, if 70% of a target audience is made up of moms, they can develop messaging that is attractive to most moms.

If companies know when their audience is logged onto certain sites, they can determine if advertising at certain times is beneficial or not. For digital advertising, there is often a choice of the time of day that ads run and advertising is sometimes more expensive during these prime times. Knowing when an audience in online is key to ensuring that a target market is seeing the message.

As always, things to consider when analyzing survey data include human behavior, personalities, potential reasons for responses, etc.

For this survey, we should consider that people who make under $50,000 a year may have more time on their hands than those who are earning more, giving them more time to connect with friends and family on Facebook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are lower in those with a professional or doctoral degree, while they run close to 11% for those with less than a high-school diploma and 7.5% for those with a high-school diploma.

Many of us know people above the $50,000 annual income category who choose activities other than social media. When asked for their reasons for not being social on-line, their answers often have something to do with lack of time (or as one mother-of-five said “I’m afraid it would be a huge time-sucker.”). In fact, 5% of people do not use Facebook at all, 55% don’t use Twitter, 54% don’t touch LinkedIn, 70% of people have no interest in Pintrest and 85% do not use Tumblr.

We should also consider that although people in this response group primarily use social media to connect with others, they may also be using Facebook to network and research potential ways to increase their income. With more education, telecommuting and contracting opportunities accessible via the internet, it is much easier to obtain additional sources of income. And many of the options are available to all who have internet access and not limited to those with a higher education level, who reside in a specific location or have other demographics that are needed for performing off-line jobs.

Why do we use social media so much? It appears that people find true value in it. Surprisingly, only 7% of respondents use it to “pass the time” versus using it for business purposes, connecting with family and friends, entertainment or “other”. On this scale, using it for “other”, whatever that may entail, describes only 2% of our general population consumers.

Consider how modern house plans differ from older house plans. In many regions, large front porches are gone and former “front porch activity” is delegated to the backyard area, which is often fenced off from other people in the neighborhood. Many now sit out in the backyard area with specifically-invited family or friends versus greeting the neighbors on their after-dinner strolls. Is social media a way that people reach out to be social, but to also stay within their comfort zones where life feels safer?

A large majority of people are coming home from work and logging onto social media. And although it appears that the majority of these people earn less than $50,000 annually, they are a market for product and services. Companies who reach the audience where they naturally spend their time will likely see the results in the bottom line.

 

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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Louisiana Statewide Survey

qSample’s pulse report is a collection of short research studies conducted each month, using one of the ten specialty panels currently owned and managed by qSample. We believe the survey results from these studies are of interest and we want to share them with you. The reports will be presented in an infographic, depicting research results on various topics. The monthly infographics will always reflect current events and topics of interest.

This past month, we tapped our Likely Voter panel to gauge Louisiana residents’ attitudes towards topics that affect them. The survey was deployed to our Louisiana Panel.

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by Rudly Raphael