JUNE 24, 2013

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A Third of U.S. Adults Now Own a Tablet

Marking another milestone for the three year old device, the Pew Research Center reported earlier this month that 34% of U.S. adults now own a tablet. Tablet penetration has nearly doubled since this time last year (18%) and more than quadrupled since May of 2011 (8%). While tablets are still more likely to be owned by the young, educated and affluent, growth in ownership during the past year was most significant among people over 50 and those with a household income of under $50,000. Tablet ownership has proven not to skew towards one race or another as ownership rates are basically the same among Whites (33%), African-Americans (32%) and Hispanics (34%).


So what?

As a point of comparison, smartphone penetration among adults in the United States was recorded at 35% in May of 2011. That was 12 years after the first Blackberry was introduced and four years after the release of the first iPhone. Tablets have gained penetration at a much faster clip than smartphones ever did. So much so, that it is easy to forget that the first iPad was released just a little more than three years ago. Only time will tell, but based on the current growth rate, more competitive pricing and consumer willingness to replace their traditional laptops and desktops with tablets, it is conceivable that penetration in a couple of years might be in-line with current smartphone penetration (Pew recently reported as 56%). The bet that Condé Nast made on tablets at their outset is proving to be a wise one.

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A Profile of Today’s College Students
The annual College Explorer survey from re:fuel and Crux Research found that college students control $117 billion in discretionary spending power this year. That number represents a 30% increase over five years ago. Among other things, college students spend their money on gadgets, and they now own on average seven electronic devices per student. Laptops (owned by 85%) and smartphones (69%) lead the list, followed by game consoles (68%), MP3 players (67%) and printers (62%). With this level of adoption, it is no surprise that students consume media on multiple devices, and tend to multitask while doing so. Almost half use a second screen while watching television, mostly to social network(69% of multitaskers), surf the web (58%), play games (50%) and do homework (37%). College students have embraced showrooming -- 75% of smartphone or tablet owners are using their device to conduct research while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. However, the most accepted way to learn about new brands and products remains word-of-mouth from friends and family.
So what? The growing spending power of college students is encouraging news for many companies. A number of brands have set forth college strategies to add even more focus to their marketing to millennials. Many of Condé Nast’s brands provide compelling ways to promote to college students, as they both overindex among the group and offer a variety of channels to reach them – from the print magazines to the online properties and digital editions.
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Post-Recession, Americans’ Cautious Views on Spending Translates to Lifestyle Changes
Four years after the US officially exited the recession, consumer spending is gaining, but Americans have been slow to shed the cost-saving habits they formed in the midst of it. According to a recent report by Mintel, American consumers in large part are still shopping around, not buying impulsively, and avoiding conspicuous consumption. Concurrently, the rise of mobile technology in the last few years has enabled consumers to be savvier at shopping than they were prior to the recession. Although perceptions and the use of technology have somewhat changed consumer shopping habits, consumer spending across a variety of categories is projected to grow by the firm. The forecast for 2013-2017 shows increased spending across all categories, especially home and garden, leisure and entertainment, and dining. When asked about their change in spending compared to last year, consumers were most likely to say they were spending more on in-home food, technology/communications, clothing/accessories/footwear and healthcare.
So what? Post-recession, consumers are ready to spend, but are now a bit more thoughtful on how they do so. Americans have grown more motivated by goals of family and self-enrichment, rather than materialism. Condé Nast and its advertisers need to be mindful of this societal shift. It is important to present content and position brands in a way congruent to consumers' evolving set of values.
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Brand Engagement on Pinterest Driven By Consumers, not Brands
Analytics agency Curalate conducted a study of user and brand engagement on Pinterest and found that on the social network users are controlling the narrative around brand stories rather than brands themselves. Specifically, 70% of brand engagement on the site is created by community users. When the data were cut into three main categories, fashion/retail, automotive, and electronics, they found that fashion/retail was the most community driven, with 82% of content generated by users, followed by automotive (75%), and lastly electronics (53%). Here are some other key findings for the fashion industry's presence on Pinterest: Fashion/retail: • Top 10 unbranded keywords (in order from 1-10): dress, women's, top, leather, lace, pink, print, dresses, shoes, love • Optimal pinning day: Friday • Optimal pinning time: 3pm EST
So what? As is the case in other forms of social media, the majority of conversations on Pinterest are user-to-user, rather than brand-to-user. Consumers have shown that they use social media to share their own thoughts and hear the voices of others like them. That environment makes it very difficult for many brands to include themselves in the conversation on social media and hinders their ability to improve brand perception. A more proven and reliable way for brands to promote to consumers remains in magazine or content-driven sites. Unlike many forms of social media, consumers have an expectation that they will be exposed to brand messages within those environments.
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Quick Takes
Facebook, Google, Pandora and Twitter Combine to Own Nearly Three-Quarters of Mobile Display Ad Market
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Baby Boomers Are Leading the New Car Sales Boom
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One in Four Worldwide Now Using Social Media
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American Opinion Split on NSA Data Collection; Democrats More Likely to Support the Program
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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