AUGUST 26, 2014

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Millennials Highly Engaged with Shopping and Loyalty Programs

Millennials’ annual spending power ($600 billion), their enjoyment of fashion and shopping, and interest in loyalty rewards programs, are all reasons why they are coveted by many brands. According to a report by software platform PunchTab, when it comes to shopping, almost half of Millennial women shop twice a month compared to 36% of non-Millennial women. Millennial men spend twice as much on fashion as men in other generations. Online shopping is a daily activity for many Millennials: 45% of them spend more than an hour per day on retail-oriented websites. Perhaps because they are browsing daily and want to be rewarded for returning to their favorite fashion brands, three in four Millennial women are members of one or more fashion-related loyalty programs and half of Millennial men belong to a fashion loyalty program. When asked what they want from loyalty programs, 51% said that exclusive access to events, products, or content was the most desirable reward. While exclusivity was most desirable, perks that show their elite status, such as access to personal shoppers or expedited checkout, were also highly coveted. Although they join loyalty programs, one in five Millennials feel that the programs do not get them and think the rewards were not sufficiently tailored to their shopping habits.

So what?

While some have stated that cash-strapped Millennials are more brand-agnostic than previous generations, this research indicates otherwise. However, Millennials do expect more in return from brands for their loyalty. Brands from all walks should find ways to reward loyalty, personalize offerings and provide status to maintain satisfaction among their Millennial consumers. Furthermore loyalty rewards programs offer brands a trove of big data, which they can use to build a more comprehensive consumer profile and more precisely measure the success of individual campaigns.

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Back-to-School Spending Grows as Parents Spend Half the Budget on Technology

As students gear up for the school year, two new reports explore back-to-school shopping trends. Google analyzed searches on its search engine and found that back-to-school searches grew 45% year over year. The back-to-school season is lasting longer than ever, with searches starting as early as May, peaking in August, and expected to extend well into September. American Express conducted a survey to understand how consumers are shopping during this period. According to the survey, nine in ten parents plan to make back-to-school purchases, and expect to spend an average of $1,151, up 5% from 2013 and 33% from 2012. The majority of parents plan to buy traditional items like clothing and school supplies, but half of them also plan to spend on a much more expensive category: electronics. The average spend on electronics is expected to be $529, with laptops, tablets, and scientific calculators topping the purchase list. 13% of parents plan to purchase a mobile phone for the new school year, and they say that 12 is the appropriate age for children to own their first phone.

So what?

Students head back to school with more electronic devices than ever before, and their digital and mobile consumption will likely increase accordingly. Condé Nast sites like Teen Vogue may be seeing an uptick in mobile visitation come September, when teens access them on their new tablets and smartphones.

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Mobile Carves Itself A Space at Start of Path to Purchase

The majority of online time is now spent on mobile devices (smartphones & tablets), so it is no surprise that mobile activity now represents a significant part of path to purchase. A new study from a mobile advertising company (xAd) and a pair of measurement companies (Telemetrics and Nielsen) found that many consumers' first instinct is to grab their smartphone or tablet when trying to decide on purchases. While mobile has not yet reached a mass audience as a conversion tool (fewer than 15% of respondents report using a mobile device to make a purchase), the majority report using a device to start their research. According to the research, mobile users have only a general idea of what they are looking for when they start their search, and their mobile search activity helps to bring more clarity. 

So what?

As more people instinctively go to their phones to find out more about services and products, perhaps marketers need to re-think their ad's call-to-action. QR codes, bitly links and app promotions all correspond well to the behavioral trend of using one's phone to gather more information and might be worth including in ads across a host of media types.

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Hooked on Technology: 64% of US Consumers Unplug Once a Month or Less Often

Consumers are hooked on technology. According to research from CivicScience, about two in three U.S. Internet users aged 13+ unplug from all personal technology once a month or less. Illustrating the large segment of the population that can never unplug, 43% say that they never turn off their devices. On the other end of the spectrum, one in five consumers report unplugging at least once a day. Age plays a role in the willingness to unplug. Those 18-23 years old are least likely to unplug, 53% never turn off their devices. However, gender or household income does not predict connectivity -- neither demographic descriptor correlates with more or less willingness to unplug. Predictably, smartphone ownership affected consumers’ ability (or inability) to unplug. Smartphone owners were 34% more likely than non-owners to never unplug from their personal devices. 

So what?

With constant streams of communication, information and entertainment available to them, many people find it difficult to unplug. While this means that marketers have countless opportunities to reach consumers, anytime and everywhere, it also means that they are being exposed to more information and seeing more messages than ever before. The necessity for marketers to be salient and well-targeted with their ads is as important as ever.

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Quick Takes
iPhone & Android Users are the Same Age, but iPhone Users Are More Affluent and Spend More Time with Apps

Source: comScore
There Are Now 4.6 PR Specialists for Every 1 Reporter

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, Pew Research Center
With a Value of $25.9 Billion, Louis Vuitton is the World's Most Valuable Luxury Brand

Source: Millward Brown, Kantar Worldpanel, Bloomberg, Statista
A $100 Bill Will Go the Furthest in Mississippi & Arkansas; Its Least Valuable in DC, Hawaii & New York

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Condé Nast
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Phil Paparella
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Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights