JULY 21, 2014

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BCG: Mobile's Role in Travel Planning

According to a recent report from The Boston Consulting Group, nearly all travelers (95%) use some form of digital media to plan or reflect upon their trips. During the planning process, travelers use a combination of 19 sites or mobile applications to prepare for each trip. BCG's report outlines the opportunities and challenges that mobile growth means for travel businesses as the mobile travel category grows from $26 billion this year to a projected $65 billion in 2018. Some of the considerations outlined by BCG include:

1) Travel businesses will be more challenged to follow the traveler during all stages of his or her planning process. A traveler might be inspired on a smartphone, conduct more research on desktop and ultimately book on a tablet (or countless other potential sequences). Travelers will also use a variety of sites, apps and media types for inspiration and planning.

2) Travel businesses will have to work in earnest to personalize their mobile offerings. The best mobile apps are personalized to the user, and younger consumers (Millennials) have grown very accustomed to that tailored experience. Travel businesses have built desktop sites that serve and inspire, but have been slower to find ways to engage with consumers one-on-one.

3) Looking further down the road, travel businesses will have to embrace the wearable devices and virtual reality technologies expected to be in market in five to ten years. BCG's opinion is that the first businesses to go to market with wearable technologies may gain an advantage, since travel is so deeply rooted in experience.

So what?

BCG's report identifies what some might consider a gap in the market. Travel businesses, in many instances, lack the data or know-how to properly personalize mobile experiences for their consumers. Any publisher or business able to develop personalized, cross-device targeting solutions for travelers might have a jump on a category.

> Click here for full report
Shopping for Products on a Tablet Can Make You Feel Like You Already Own Them

Social psychologists have long known that people tend to value an item more once they own it. So strong is this phenomenon – known as “the endowment effect” – that simply touching an item or imagining you own it makes people feel a sense of ownership and, as a result, perceive the item as more valuable. Researchers from Boston University recently explored the implications of the endowment effect to online shopping and found that the interface people were using to shop can fundamentally change their perceptions of the products. In a lab experiment, participants were assigned either a computer with a mouse or a touchscreen. They were asked to roam an assortment of products and choose the one they would like to purchase, and then say for what price they would sell the item if someone else wanted to buy it for them. Participants who used a touchscreen – especially a tablet – wanted to sell their item for significantly more than those who used a mouse. The effect was especially strong for more physical products (e.g. college sweatshirts) than for less touchable ones (e.g. New York walking tours). The researchers concluded that merely touching the product on the screen made participants feel a sense of psychological ownership over it, and value it more as a result.

So what?

Digital media traditionally lacks the tactile experience that other media, like magazines, offer. Touchscreens bring back this important aspect of the product experience, and represent an opportunity for advertisers. Mobile users may be more inclined to buy an advertised product if the ad encourages them to touch and interact with it.

> Click here for full report
The Middle-Aged Are Least Happy with Their Physical Appearance; Seniors Most Happy

While American culture is often obsessed with youth, seniors aged 66+ report feeling the most positive about their appearance compared to other generations according to a recent survey from Gallup. Two in three seniors “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they always feel good about their physical appearance compared to 61% of young adults 18-34 years old. Middle-aged Americans (aged 35-64) are least likely to feel good about their physical appearance, with only 54% agreeing that they are happy with their looks. No matter the age, men were almost always more happy about their appearance than women. Minorities were most positive about their physical appearance, as 68% of Blacks, 67% of Hispanics, and 62% of Asians agreed they are confident about their physical appearance compared to only 55% of Whites. 

So what?

Consumers’ sentiment about their physical appearance may drive their consumption choices for many products and services including beauty and grooming, health and fitness, food, and apparel. Understanding consumers’ mindsets about how they look can help marketers recognize which messages will best connect with consumers throughout their lives.

> Click here for full report
Food & Drink
Broadening Their Palette, Americans Seek New Flavors and Ingredients

The “foodie” culture has gone mainstream. According to a new report from Mintel, three out of four American adults agree that they enjoy talking about new or interesting foods and having food culture discussions. Four in five consumers are open to trying new flavors and 57% consider themselves to be adventurous eaters. American consumers are not only interested in trying new flavors while dining out, 68% report having purchased specialty foods to create in-home meals. Consumers discover new recipes and ingredients through a variety of sources. Word-of-mouth (45%) and cooking television channels (40%) were the top sources, followed by cookbooks (39%), television (36%), and cooking websites (35%). Magazines were close behind, with 32% of consumers discovering new flavors and ingredients in their pages.

So what?

As America's demographics are becoming more multicultural, US consumers are more open and curious about sampling new cuisines and flavors that were once considered too exotic or intimidating. Mainstream foodies are seeking out new dishes through a variety of social and cooking-focused sources, putting Condé Nast brands in a great position to introduce new recipes and restaurants to hungry consumers.

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Quick Takes
The Young & Poor Are Most Likely to Live in Wireless-Only Homes

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Pew Research Center
Netflix Has Gained 11 Million U.S. Streaming Subscriptions in the Past Two Years

Source: Netflix, eMarketer
The Facebook App Reaches Three of Four Smartphone Users

Source: comScore
The Majority of Women Use at Least 7 Beauty Products Each Day

Source: Popsugar Insights
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