The end-of-year holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, as retailers are already rolling out their holiday promotions. And those efforts appear to be working, as nearly one quarter (22%) of U.S. consumers report that they’ve already started their holiday shopping, according to the Nielsen’s 2013 Holiday Spending Forecast. Holiday shoppers can also be notorious procrastinators, as 60 percent say they will wait a bit before they start their shopping.
So what does this mean for U.S. retail sales this year? Nielsen expects this holiday shopping season will be marginally stronger than last year, with dollar sales rising just about 2 percent, buoyed by the strongest consumer sentiment in six years (98 on the Q3 2013 Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index).
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How Loyal Are Your Customers?
Standing out in a world of choice isn’t easy. Earning consumer devotion to a brand or store takes more than just offering a good product. Price, packaging, customer service and reputation are just some of the factors involved in a consumer’s decision-making process. That’s why getting to the heart of what makes a consumer stick or switch can be the difference between flourishing and fading. While Nielsen research shows that bigger rewards generally inspire higher loyalty levels, loyalty programs are no guarantee of loyal behaviors.
How do you turn a fickle fan into a faithful follower? You start by understanding the needs and motivations that drive their purchase decisions. And then you deploy the strategies and tactics that deliver the most value. This global study outlines the reasons why consumers switch brands, service providers or retailers and identifies the loyalty program attributes that potentially have the most staying power.
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How Does India Innovate?
Innovation isn’t easy. Globally, at least 90 percent of new product introductions fail in the year they launch. India is often viewed as a hotbed of innovation, but truth be told, the odds of launching a breakthrough success in this market may not be meaningfully better than anywhere else in the world. And the landscape is highly competitive. In looking at more than 14,000 launches in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in 2011 for India, Nielsen deemed fewer than 40 as true breakthrough innovations.
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’Tis the Season to Focus on Fresh
There’s no time like the holidays for lavish feasts and decadent treats, which means it’s time for consumers to start decking their fridges and pantries with food for year-end entertaining. So when December hits, shoppers up the ante when it comes to stocking their baskets with fresh foods, when family and friends begin gathering to indulge on holiday favorites like turkeys, pies and sweet potatoes. And because quality and selection in the fresh departments is an important driver of shoppers’ store choice, enticing shoppers with fresh options in December can mean winning the entire holiday basket and generating the highest sales of the year.
The week of Christmas is a gift to fresh food sales. Behind Thanksgiving, it’s the highest-selling week of the year, and fresh food sales are 8 percent higher than average. Fresh foods account for 32 percent of total food sales during that week (compared with the 30% annual average). Winning in fresh is critical around Christmas, because losing the holiday basket could be more costly than any other time throughout the year.
Competition for the fresh-focused holiday basket is greater than ever. While traditional grocery stores are the leaders in fresh food sales, other retail channels – including supercenters, club, dollar and even drug stores – are responding to growing consumer demand by delivering greater availability and assortment of fresh foods. So how does a retailer gain the competitive edge and win the holiday basket?
Educational Programs Gain High Marks Around the World
People around the world believe in their local education programs, predominantly those that pertain to the primary (grades 1-8) and secondary (grades 9-12) levels, according to online respondents to a Nielsen global survey on education attainment. But sentiment about opportunities for the more advanced years and higher education lagged.
Eighty-eight percent of global respondents said that outstanding education services were abundant at the primary level, and 86 percent said they were abundant for the secondary level, but that percentage dropped more than 10 points to 75 percent with respect to higher education opportunities. North America was the only region where confidence in higher education exceeded the average at 84 percent.
Perceptions of educational opportunities in several developing markets in Asia-Pacific were stand-outs, far exceeding the global average for all levels of educational programs, with sentiment in Indonesia, India, Thailand and the Philippines rising to the top of the list. China surpassed the global average at the primary (91%) and secondary (88%) levels, but was below par for higher education opportunities (72%).
In North America, Canadians were more confident about educational opportunities than Americans. In Europe, Scandinavian, Northern and Baltic countries were most satisfied with education services. Substantial percentages of respondents from Argentina, Chile and Peru showed dissatisfaction with the education system. Responses from the Middle East/African countries measured closely reflected the global average at all levels of education.
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Education Is an Investment for the Future Around the Globe
The road to better jobs, more money and improved lifestyles is paved by education, according to a new Nielsen survey. More than three-quarters (78%) of global online respondents agreed that receiving a higher education, such as college, is important. Likewise, three-fourths also believed that better employment (75%) and higher income (72%) are accessible because of educational opportunities.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Education Aspirations polled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries to measure consumer sentiment on the availability of educational opportunities at all levels of study and the resulting opportunity for job and salary advancement. While the opportunity to receive a quality education is a multi-dimensional topic with underlying socio-economic factors to consider, the findings help shed light on what the future holds for both consumers and companies alike in the context of driving innovation, economic advancement and social development.
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Despite inflationary heat affecting many of our wallets, fresh foods continue to maintain healthy sales contributions at retail. In fact, fresh foods can comprise between 30-60 percent of total food, grocery and personal care expenses on average, depending on country and type of fresh product. Let’s face it, fresh foods are high-traffic volume boosters. They are a staple to a healthy diet, and we shop for fresh foods often.
New findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Fresh Foods reveal how much fresh foods we consume, where we shop for fresh products and why we shop these preferred retail channels. By combining global survey research with Nielsen sales information collected from around the world, we unearth insights that re-define retail strategies to bolster sales in both the perimeter and center store aisles. The Shopper Trends Survey findings are based on a global study, covering 54 markets across 58 countries, with a total sample size of 87,000 respondents.
How the Mobile Consumer Connects Around the Globe
Mobile phones have reached a critical mass around the world, serving as constant companions for consumers regardless of demographics or geography. But how we engage with mobile devices and content varies depending on who and where you are. We took a closer look at these differences in a new report, The Mobile Consumer: A Global Snapshot, and found that while mobile usage is becoming increasingly ubiquitous around the world, usage differs significantly by market and demographic groups.
The report examines mobile consumer behavior, device preference and usage in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.
Device preference is evolving, as smartphone penetration continues to grow in most markets, especially in developed markets with widespread 3G/4G access. In the U.S. and South Korea, for example, smartphone owners now make up the majority of mobile consumers. And in many markets this increased penetration is being led by a new generation of young adults eager to embrace smartphone technology. Comparatively, in growing economies like India and Turkey, a growing group of mobile phone users prefer feature phones over other device options (80% and 61%, respectively).
Trying to decide on a new product to buy? Help is just a few clicks away.
According to a Nielsen global survey, the Internet is an important influence on consumers interested in buying new products in categories like electronics (81%), appliances (77%), books (70%) and music (69%). The trend is catching on in consumption categories too—such as food and beverages (62%), personal hygiene (62%), personal health/over-the-counter medicines (61%) and hair care (60%)—with respondents in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East/Africa most engaged in online decision-making. More than half of all global respondents consider the Internet important when it comes to purchasing new clothing (69%) and cars (68%).
A little brand loyalty goes a long way. More than half (60%) of consumers around the world with Internet access prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand than switch to a new brand, according to a new global study from Nielsen.
“Innovating products within established brands that consumers trust can be a powerful strategy,” said Rob Wengel, senior vice president, Nielsen Innovation Analytics. “Marketers and retailers can deliver successful new products for existing brands by ensuring they uncover unmet consumer needs, communicate with clarity, deliver distinct product innovations, and execute an optimal marketing strategy.”
The findings are from the Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment, which surveyed more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access from 58 countries.
Getting What You Pay For
While brand familiarity is important, half of global respondents say they’d be willing to try a new brand: consumers in the Middle East/Africa and North America were the most enthusiastic (57%), followed by Europe (56%), Latin America (47%) and Asia-Pacific (45%).
Value, variety and proof-of-concept resonate most with consumers worldwide when they consider buying new products. Sixty-three percent say they like when manufacturers offer new product options, but 60 percent wait for a product to build a track record before buying it. Brand isn’t everything, however, especially when a store brand or value option will deliver the same benefit for less money. Sixty-four percent of global respondents say they’d buy a store brand or value option, and 45 percent agree that a tight economy makes them cautious about trying a new product. Cost is less of a factor for some, however, as four out of 10 (39%) say they’re willing to pay a premium price to stay loyal to a favorite brand.
From stats and scores to game footage, sports are a big player in mobile content. According to Nielsen’s 2012 Year in Sports report, nearly 60 percent of smartphone and tablet owners accessed sports content on their device at least once a day between January to September 2012. Twelve percent of smartphone owners and 10 percent of tablet owners did so more than three times a day.
While sports content comes in many shapes and forms, sports fans typically pay most attention to the latest scores and stats. Among owners of multiple connected devices, smartphones and laptops were the preferred device for checking sports scores (16%, respectively), followed by Internet-enabled TV sets (12%) and tablets (9%).
Hat tip: PW
Exploring the Consumer Media Universe
From televisions and smartphones to tablets and game consoles, Americans are consuming content on every device under the sun— the latest versions of which will be on display this week at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
According to Nielsen’s new U.S. Consumer Usage Report 2012, nearly 120 million people within television homes own four or more TV sets, and 16 percent of television homes own a tablet. Smartphone owners officially make up the majority of mobile subscribers, as 56 percent owned a smartphone as of Q3 2012. Additionally, the number of social media users continues to increase across all platforms as consumers use social networking as a vehicle to navigate the ever-expanding media universe.
If Congress and the President can’t reach an agreement on the federal budget by the end of the year, the simultaneous increase in taxes and cuts to entitlement programs will send the U.S. over a so-called “fiscal cliff” at the start of 2013. The effects of such an occurrence will be stark and sweeping, and a distinct and cohesive group of wealthy Americans that has emerged in recent years is preparing for austerity and risk aversion. Given the potential impact the fiscal cliff may have on this group, coined as the Mass Affluent in a recent Nielsen report, many have educated themselves on the subject and taken their opinions to the Web to opine on this rapidly evolving drama.
The Mass Affluent, which now account for 11 percent of all U.S. households, generally believe the expiring tax measures, commensurate rate hikes and expected volatility in the marketplace associated with the fiscal cliff will have notable financial repercussions for them.
In preparation, this group may be modifying their financial portfolios and investment strategies–tactics that may shift preferences for financial products and services.
When it comes to devices, kids’ holiday wish lists are simple this year. The most-wanted gifts are predominantly from one company—Apple. According to a recent Nielsen study, Apple’s popularity leading up to the holiday season continues a trend seen over the last couple of years, with American kids aged 6-12 generally more interested in the latest iOS offerings than other consumer electronics and gaming devices.
Approximately half the children surveyed expressed interest in the full-sized iPad (up from 44% last year), and 36 percent in the new iPad Mini. The iPod Touch and iPhone are also coveted devices among these young consumers (36% and 33%, respectively). Kids are also likely to ask for dedicated gaming hardware this holiday, with 39 percent excited to own Nintendo’s just-released console offering, Wii U, and 29 percent indicating they want a device from that company’s portable DS family. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 also proved appealing, with approximately one-quarter of kids 6-12 saying they want these high definition consoles.
Secret Scrooges: Holiday Shoppers, Beware Rogue Online Retailers
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, the U.S. holiday shopping season is set to officially kick off in just a few days and many consumers will be looking online to find the best deals for gifts on their shopping lists. But the hunt for holiday shopping deals can have a “bah humbug” side: about one in five bargain-hunting, online shoppers in the U.S. and Europe has mistakenly shopped counterfeit goods online. Nielsen collaborated with MarkMonitor– an online brand protection company–on their new MarkMonitor Shopping Report, released today, and found that many consumers shopping for knock-offs may only be looking for the best deals on legitimate products.
An analysis of anonymized panelists’ search terms and referral traffic to rogue websites shows that for every shopper searching for counterfeit goods on the web, 20 more were merely bargain hunters looking up the best deals, using terms like “discount” and “clearance.” As consumers surf for bargains, counterfeit goods sold at steep discounts may not be as easily distinguishable from end-of-season sales across the web. And if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many websites selling counterfeit goods can look legitimate – even using official product images.
In fact, consumers visiting sites that sell counterfeit goods are demographically similar to those visiting trusted online retailers, further demonstrating that consumers may not be able to distinguish between legitimate and black-market, online retailers. An anonymized demographic analysis of Nielsen’s permissioned panel showed that online shoppers who browse rogue sites are nearly identical to visitors to more mainstream retailers.