JUNE 06, 2011

If you prefer to read this in a browser, please click here.
Technology
Forrester: The “Post-PC Era” Is Here
As noted in several previous CNtelligence articles, there is evidence that connected devices such as tablets and smartphones are beginning to overshadow PCs. According to Steve Jobs, Apple now gets a majority of its revenues from “post-PC devices,” including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. A new Forrester report credits social and cultural forces as the key drivers of this trend. The report claims that the post-PC era is driven primarily by consumers’ desire for ubiquitous, casual, intimate, and physical computing experiences that only newer form factors, such as tablets and smartphones, can support. Forrester does believe that older form factors such as desktops and laptops will continue to exist, but only in combination with the newer ones. The report further states that post-PC product strategy will continue to evolve in stages and will consist of varying form factors. Today, they are tablets and smartphones, tomorrow they could be sneakers, wristwatches, or sunglasses.
So what? Regardless of what Jann Wenner thinks, this report suggests that Condé Nast's tablet strategy is on track.
> Read more
Culture
Ipsos Study Spotlights Real Lives Of Working Women (In A Cool “Reality-TV” Format)
According to a new Ipsos report, today’s female head of household is a lot different than even a few years ago and it’s time for marketers’ impressions of who she is to catch up. Today’s female head of household is more often than not a working woman, and whether a woman is working or not has a tremendous effect on her habits and practices. One of the greatest misperceptions is that working women are a niche, or a subset of a larger segment. Ipsos shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The facts speak for themselves: 75% of women 25-54 are working full or part time; 71% of all mothers are working; over 70% of American children live in a household where all adults are employed. The bottom line is working women are the new modern family - they are the vast majority. And if a woman works, it profoundly affects the entire household dynamic, purchase behavior, and all of her relationships with people and brands. Ipsos has created a compelling “reality-TV” video that creatively integrates quantitative and qualitative findings on the working woman. You can access the video in the article’s abstract (after you click “Read more”).
So what? “…As ‘super mom’ trades her cape for a smartphone and her side kick for an entourage, ‘working woman’ emerges as a tremendous opportunity for marketers who are quick enough to keep up with her.” - Peter Weylie,
Senior Vice-President, Ipsos Understanding UnLtd
> Read more
Industry Viewpoints
Human Editors Vs. Algorithms: Who Wins?
A recent Harvard Business Review article emphatically says HUMANS (whew!). The article examines the trend of algorithm-based personalization - the "if you like this, you'll like that" utilities that are popular on the web. This trend is not only evident on sites like Amazon and Netflix that deal with products, but also on sites that deal with news and content. For example, Google search and Yahoo News implement personalization. Even the New York Times and the Washington Post are investing in startups that provide a customized "Daily Me" approach to their newspapers. The business logic behind this race to personalize is quite simple: if you can draw on the vast amount of information users often unwittingly provide to deliver more personally relevant content, your visitors have a better experience and keep coming back. And of course, once you've got the code running, why suffer the overhead of expensive human editors? In theory, personalization can do a better job at a lower price: what's not to love? According to the author of the article, a lot. It turns out that there are several crucial things human editors can do that algorithms can’t, like anticipating future events, taking risks, seeing the big picture, judging levels of importance, trust, and more. Although algorithms are helpful in sorting through and organizing large amounts of data, human attributes are crucial in putting it all in context.
So what? Breathe a sigh of relief editors, your jobs are safe… (for now)
> Read more
Media
New Study: How Retailers Can Monetize Social Media
A recent study of online shoppers by Shop.org (a division of the National Retail Federation), comScore, and Social Shopping Labs indicates that social channels can be used to directly influence shopping behavior and drive sales. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the study said they follow companies on social media sites to find deals, while nearly half (49%) said they do so to keep up to date on products. And one third said they would make purchases directly on Facebook or Twitter (35% and 32% respectively). At first glance, this may seem like a dangerous proposition for media companies like Condé Nast because it implies that retailers may not need advertising to sell their products. However, a closer look at the results shows that consumers are using social media primarily to find products they like for the best prices. Retailers still need branding advertising through channels like Condé Nast brands to stimulate desire and protect profit margins.
So what? Smart marketers will use social media as a compliment to brand advertising, not a replacement.
> Read more
Fashion/Beauty
Mirror, Mirror, On The Screen (?)
Instead of the plain old mirror on the wall, women (and some men) around the world are gazing into digital reflections, hoping to see a more beautiful version of themselves. Iconoculture has identified a new beauty trend whereby technology allows consumers to apply make up or try on clothes virtually and get second opinions from friends (or strangers) before purchasing a product. Companies such as EZface and ModiFace allow users to scan their face using the computer’s camera or upload existing photos so that she can experiment with a variety of colors, shades and techniques using the touchscreen or mouse, or produce “clinically accurate” aging and skincare renditions of her face. In addition, companies like Shiseido and MyChelle Dermaceutical have apps and online malls that allow consumers to virtually chat with trained consultants or licensed staff members about all things related to health and beauty.
So what? As more people across markets use tablets and smartphones and maintain social media personas, prepare for beauty to become as experimental and fun online as it is face-to-face.
> Read more
Quick Takes
Groupon’s Massive Gains And Losses
Groupon just filed for its IPO, and two obvious things jump out: its fast growing revenues, and its fast growing losses. Revenue for the first three months of 2011 was $645 million, a 1,357% increase from the year prior. Its net loss was $103 million, which is 1,301% worse than the year prior.
> Read more
CHARTS OF THE WEEK: Android Winning in Smartphone Market Share And Data Usage
> Read more
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