MARCH 18, 2013

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Lifestyle/Luxury
Optimism Among Affluents Ticks Up
According to Ipsos MediaCT's February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer, 43% of American Affluents (HHI of $100K+) are optimistic about the country's economy. That is up from 40% in December and 34% in October. The Ultra Affluents (HHI of $250K+) are even more optimistic about the nation's prospects as 48% consider themselves optimistic. The majority of Affluents (52%) believe they will be better off in 12 months, while just one in five believe they won't be. The number of Affluents who plan to spend more on luxury in the next 12 months outnumber those who plan to spend less -- a reverse of course from just this past Fall. The number of Ultra Affluents who plan to spend more on luxury nearly triple the group that plans to spend less -- those areas of growth among Ultra Affluents will be in travel, apparel and watches & jewelry, according to Mendelsohn.
So what? The rise of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and further stabilization of housing markets have given the Affluent more confidence in the nation's short-term future. Ultra Affluents seem especially optimistic right now, and this might be a good time for high-end luxury brands to double down their efforts to promote to them.
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Technology
Late Adopters Now Have Mobile Devices
More than 129 Million people own a smartphone in the US and over 50 million own a tablet device, according to the latest mobile update from comScore. With the majority of Americans now having a smartphone, that means even the tech-resistant -- the ‘Late Majority’ of adopters are carrying a smartphone and are always connected to the digital world. comScore reports that multi-platform consumption is the new reality, as consumers have become “digital omnivores.” They access media across different devices and use the time of day and convenience of the device to choose how to best connect. Smartphone usage increases during commute times in the morning and evening, while computer usage peaks during the day (while people are at work) and tablet usage peaks at night, while people are home and winding down before bed.
So what? The growth of smartphone penetration means that smartphones are just not for the teach-savvy anymore. It also means that cross-platform campaigns will continue to gain importance among advertisers. The investments Condé Nast has made in mobile content in anticipation of this trend should pay dividends as mobile environments gain share of media consumption.
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Media
Twitter Reactions Differ from Public Opinion
Twitter has been crowned by many as the new town square – a place where public opinion is expressed and heard. However, a new analysis from the Pew Research Center suggests that Twitter reactions may be inconsistent with the sentiment of the general public. The yearlong study compared traditional public poll results with Twitter conversations around eight major political events, and found that tweets tended to be more extreme than survey results – sometimes leaning more liberal and sometimes more conservative. The overall negativity of tweets also stood out. Pew offered three reasons for the divergence between Twitter and public polls. First, Twitter users are not representative of the general public – only 13% of adults use Twitter, and they skew younger and more liberal. Second, Twitter conversations include people under 18 and those living outside the US, who are not sampled in national polls. Finally, those who comment on Twitter tend to share their opinions on topics that interest them the most, whereas polls ask people about a variety of topics.
So what? Many companies are closely listening to what's being said about them in the "Twitterverse". This is a valuable tool for monitoring consumer sentiment and gaining competitive intelligence. It is important to remember, however, that listening to social chatter should not replace a more direct contact with the consumer, as it is not representative of the entire audience.
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Culture
JWT: Consumers Show an Appreciation for Tactility
With the embrace of techno-centric lifestyles comes a nostalgia and appreciation of owning and handling physical goods and media. According to a new study from the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, two out of three consumers say that they sometimes feel nostalgic for things from the past, like vinyl records and photo albums. The study, titled “Embracing Analog: Why Physical is Hot,” also found that 64% of Millennials would be interested in buying now-obsolete goods as collector’s items. Additionally, three in four believe physical objects have a longevity that digital objects lack. When thinking about print media, 56% of consumers like the way magazines smell and feel, with the sentiment highest among Millenials (58% agreed with the statement). The longing to own objects is exemplified by the revival of vinyl records, collectible editions, paper stationary and reprinted books for home display.
So what? This study should act as a reminder that while much is written (including in this very newsletter) about the imporance of digital, there still remains considerable appreciation for the tactility of magazines. Condé Nast should continue to extoll the virtues of the look and feel of its most important products. Magazines have a longevity that other media do not.
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Quick Takes
Forrester Projects Online Retail Sales to Make Up 8% of All Retail Sales this Year; Firm Forecasts that Number to be 10% by 2015
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iPhone Users are More Active Gamers than Android Users
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Revenue at Time Inc. Has Dropped 35% Over the Past Six Years
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Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Sites Hold onto the Top Three Spots for Unique Visitors
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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

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