FEBRUARY 19, 2013

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Global Consumer Confidence is on the Rise
Global consumer confidence in Q4 2012 increased two points over the fourth quarter of 2011, says Nielsen. North American consumer confidence grew by six percentage points, driven mainly by an increase in a positive job outlook. 71% of North American consumers think their country is in an economic recession at the moment, an improvement from 77% in Q3 2012 and 86% in Q4 2011. In North America, more Americans than Canadians plan to spend on clothes, technology and entertainment, while more Canadians plan to invest and pay debts. The countries with the highest consumer confidence right now are all developing economies: India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
So what? The improvement in consumer confidence and decline in the recessionary mindset will hopefully result in increased discretionary spending. Condé Nast and marketers should remain alert to such indicators of consumer sentiment and its implications for the industries they operate in.
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U.S. Consumers Perceive Great Value from Online Media
Americans spend roughly 27 hours a week consuming media, and about 44% of that time is spent online. That number should soon surpass 50% according to a report published by The Boston Consulting Group this month. Americans' dependence on the internet as a consumption medium has made them realize just how valuable it is. BCG's research found that Americans' perceived value of time spent with the internet is $1,132 per year while they are spending just $165 for it -- good for a surplus of $967. The surplus was slightly lower ($904) for offline media. BCG argues that the proliferation of devices and the shift from offline to online will lead consumers to grow even more reliant on online media, and place even greater value (and subsequent surplus) on it.
So what? As Condé Nast strives to grow its digital business, this research from BCG is encouraging. Consumers feel they are deriving tremendous value from the internet. While that doesn't necessarily mean consumers would be thrilled at publishers inserting more revenue generators into their content, it would seem there is a opportunity for publishers to increase efforts to reasonably make money off of their sites. This could be in the form of more advertisements, installation of paywalls, higher rates for digital subscriptions, and the monetization of audience data.
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Path to Purchase Model Gets Another Makeover
In a new report, Forrester Research outlines a new circular model for path to purchase called the ‘Customer Life Cycle’ that replaces the outdated linear path of the past. Their paradigm accounts for the myriad of interaction points that consumers have with brands leading up to the purchase and after. The addition of digital, social, smartphone, and tablet technology has enabled consumers to constantly interact with brands and peers to learn about products and brands prior to the purchase decision. In their most recent survey, Forrester found that 69% of US online adult consumers have researched products online in the past 3 months, up from 63% in 2010. The firm feels that companies that embrace data and a mix of digital and traditional marketing will be able to best respond to the new model.
So what? There have been a number of alternative formulas for path to purchase that have been written about over the past decade. This new report from Forrester is a new take on a well-covered subject.
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Today’s Foodies Prioritize Quality and Convenience
Food lovers have come a long way since the 1990s, when the term “foodie” was used to describe affluent elitists searching for the most expensive and exclusive food items. A new report from customer research firm Iconoculture suggests that foodie behavior has gone mainstream, and that food lovers take into account quality, convenience and price when making their product choices. While basic foodie behaviors (cooking for fun, shopping for organic and local foods) are evenly dispersed across generations, there are some notable differences between the different age groups. Millennials are comfortable navigating many choices, and they utilize technology for discovery and inspiration. Gen Xers are looking to provide simple quality meals to their families within the time constraints of their busy schedules. Boomers prefer foods that bridge the gap between health and indulgence. Iconoculture notes that Bon Appetit’s new Seal of Approval is aligned with these new foodie behaviors, allowing food lovers to identify quality products outside of the specialty food stores.
So what? Condé Nast’s food and lifestyle properties have a number of foodies within their audiences, and understanding this group’s changing behaviors can help tailor content and offerings to their needs. An emphasis on practicality and quality and a pretension-free approach can go a long way toward winning foodies’ trust.
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Quick Takes
Amazon Has Best Reputation Among US Consumers
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Bolstered by Paywall, The New York Times has Experienced Seven Straight Quarters of Circulation Revenue Growth
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Consumers in Latin America Most Willing to Pay for New Products
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The Most Discussed Issues on Twitter During the State of the Union
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Condé Nast
Feedback, questions, ideas for future issues? Please contact:

Phil Paparella
Condé Nast Research & Insights | Associate Director
1166 6th Avenue, 14th fl. | NY, NY 10036 | office 212.790.6044 | philip_paparella@condenast.com

Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights