Tag Archives: consumer trends

News: Consumer Spending over Easter, UK and USA

Retail Decisions (ReD), a world leader in payment fraud prevention, reported a hike in online home improvement purchases in both the UK and US ahead of the Easter Weekend. This rise suggests that the current economic fragility is leading consumers on both sides of the pond to tighten their belts and stay at home, this Easter.

Carl Clump, CEO of ReD says, “UK data shows more than a 60% increase in the number of online transactions for DIY products in the lead up to Easter this year versus the same period before Easter in 2009. Interestingly, UK online sales of DIY items were up three-fold during weekends in March and, moreover, the average value of each transaction also increased by GBP112 from GBP253 to GBP365. In the US, the rise in home improvement purchases over the internet was 44% but, conversely, the average transaction value decreased by $27 from to $240 to $213.”

Carl further comments, “There is a clear shift in consumer trends towards buying home improvement products online. Internet purchases allow customers to have the goods delivered directly to their door, both saving time and avoiding the Easter weekend rush at the tills. There is no wasted trip if an item is out of stock and there is the added advantage of online discounts and easy price comparisons.”

ReD’s data shows that the top two most popular home improvement activities in the UK were kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodelling. The third most popular product category was storage furniture and wardrobes. It seems that the weak housing market is prompting people to make their home environments more pleasant rather than relocating. The popularity of storage furniture appears to highlight that people are reorganising their homes to optimise the space they already have.

In the US, tools and garden furniture represent the top two product categories followed by garden plants.

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News: Best New Products Sheds Light on Consumer Trends

Canadians are looking for healthier food options, as well as ways to save money and the environment, according to a study from BrandSpark International.

The Toronto-based strategy firm polled 25,000 Canadians online in the areas of environmental accountability, healthier options in food and beverage and private label versus premium brands.

The survey was conducted for the Best New Product Awards. Now in its seventh year, this year’s Best New Product Awards survey saw consumers vote on 144 products in 47 product categories.

This year’s winners include: Astro Zero Superfruit Yogourt for best in show, Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil in the health and beauty category, and Ziploc Evolve Sandwich Bagsfor household products.

“The survey not only provides us with valuable insights about current products and innovations but also larger movements and shifts in Canadians’ viewpoints and approaches toward what they purchase, and more importantly why,” said Robert Levy, president of BrandSpark International, in a release.

For instance, the study suggests people have made a big shift to eat at home more and as a result are spending more time and money in the grocery store.

Of those surveyed, 65% like trying new products, while 73% say they enjoy cooking for themselves and their family.

Canadians also want more bang for their buck, and as a result have turned to private label or in-store brands. Though consumer perception of private label quality has decreased slightly over the last year, 64% of consumers believe these brands offer good value for their money. Nearly half, (47%) of Canadians surveyed have purchased more private label products in the past 12 months.

“Finding new products that really deliver is more important than ever, especially with shoppers demanding greater value for money,” said Levy.

Healthy living is also a priority for Canadians, with 60% saying it’s important a new product be made from “all-natural ingredients,” while 45% say they have “greater trust” in natural products than those labeled organic.

Since beginning the survey, environmental accountability has grown to become a primary concern for Canadian consumers, said Levy, however 82% of those polled said they felt companies are exploiting environmentally friendly claims for marketing purposes, and 69% say it’s important a new product is better for the environment.

Packaging is one of the top environmental concerns, with 89% saying manufacturers have a long way to go.

“Consumers are demanding companies to be more accountable in terms of their environmental claims and they are willing to pay for products with realistic and tangible claims such as reduced packaging,” he said.

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News: New Retail Landscape Starting to Emerge

At the moment we’re researching future consumer behaviours that we think will impact design trends for Spring Summer 2011, when we expect we’ll really start to feel like we’re coming out of the recession. We expect the retail landscape and shopping experience as we know it to have transformed somewhat, and in some instances be radically different from the pre-recession mass-consumerism. This will be a selling environment where the customer (the word consumer will sound so outdated and inacurate by 2011; this term will seem insulting, passive, wasteful, decisionless) will genuinely drive the market, make demands of brands and request or decline relationships with brands.

We’ve been reading a lot about VPI, volunteered personal information; where individuals will offer up information about future purchases they wish to make, and invite companies to pitch for their business. So if you want a new car next spring, you would share this information (social networking sites are ripe for this type of development) and tell brands you’re looking for a new family car, next March, for a specified price, and then invite the automotive brands you like to pitch you their best offer. Customer really is king in this scenario. This new way of buying has the power to turn the system on it’s head, it would eliminate the need for advertising as we know it, and would transform the roles of salespeople to relationship managers within an organisation. The concept of brands hard-selling goods to consumers, and customers passively consuming just seems so old-fashioned all of a sudden.

As with all future trends, the beginnings of the ‘next big thing’ are already here, there are little clues in the way society operates, the way taste evolves, the dissatisfactions with how things are currently done, that provide us with insights into how new needs will be met. We’ve seen some great examples of temporary retail environments like mobile stores and  ‘pop-up’ restaurants and shops, and some clever mechanisms for selling online, but what does this mean for traditional retail environments? How will the big retailers begin to engage with us again? We’ve found a few examples of trends emerging which we’ll share with you over the coming weeks. We thought the concept of time-limited discounting was an interesting one to start us off…

Japanese trend scouts C Scout recently reported a new retail phenomenon spotted at the Shibuya 109 teen shopping complex where ‘time sales’ have become popular. For 10 or 20 minute periods, certain items are offered at knocked-down prices so that shoppers can take advantage of bargains. To draw attention to the special offers, staff hold up signs or shout (with a megaphone!), luring shoppers away from other stores. This is just one example of the new retail landscape that’s starting to emerge as we move out of the recession. Please share your thoughts with us- what do you think the future of retail looks like as we think about emerging from the recession?

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