MAY 07, 2012

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Economy
Optimism Gains Among the Affluent
Ispsos Mendelsohn’s recent update on American Affluents (national sample of adults 18+ with a household income of $100K+) reports that optimism within the group about the economy continues to grow and hit a one-year high in March. Exactly half of Affluents are optimistic about the US economy, against 33% that are pessimistic. Personal optimism also hit a one-year high among Affluents, and skewed even higher among the young (18-44) and highly affluent ($250K+ HHI).
So what? While many are still troubled by the economy in the abstract, the affluent appear to be more optimistic about their personal prospects. And that is good news for Condé Nast, since readers of CN magazines and websites are 80% more likely than the average adult to be young and highly affluent -- 18-44 years old with a HHI of $250K+.
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Media
China’s Social Media Boom
China has by far the world’s most active social media population in the world. 91% of Chinese internet users said they visited a social media site in the past 6 months, compared to 30% in Japan and 67% in the United States. McKinsey also reports that social media is an influential part of the path to purchase for Chinese consumers. Chinese consumers are more likely to consider buying a product if it’s mentioned on a social media site and more likely to purchase a product or service if a friend or acquaintance recommends it on a social media site. Beyond the growth in social media, the Chinese e-commerce market is expected to grow by 40% in the next year and projects to become the world’s largest e-commerce market by 2015.
So what? While there has been much in the news about political aspects of social media in China – its use by dissidents and political implications – less attention has been paid to its role in e-commerce. A presence on social media within China might prove to be an effective way for Condé Nast to serve advertisers’ needs to further entrench themselves in the market as they look to gain a piece of the burgeoning e-commerce business.
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Retail/Shopping/Commerce
Mother’s Day Sales Expected to Be Up
As with other recent minor holidays, American consumer spending around Mother’s Day is expected to be up over last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day spending survey. The NRF reports that Americans will spend an average of $152 on meals or gifts for moms this year – up 8% over last year. The total US Mother’s Day spend is expected to reach $18.6 billion. Two-thirds of respondents plan to buy flowers, with a total spend over $2 billion in the category.
So what? Planned spending around Mother’s Day follows a nice trend for retailers around recent holidays. Consumers are showing a continued willingness to spend more than in recent years. This increased enthusiasm might serve as a nice opportunity for Condé Nast magazines to provide Mother’s Day gift guides or engage in social media conversation around the holiday.
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Culture
Digital Politics
The 2012 presidential election may be the first 'digital' election as the medium's strategic importance has been recognized by all (current and former) candidates. A new report by ComScore details how digital fundraising, advertising, social media, search, blogs are shaping the election. The report covers the candidates performance against several metrics, with Obama out performing Romney in all of them. (See abstract for metrics) The report also covers how Social Media can extend the base of fundraisers. Obama and Ron Paul both found that the people donating to their campaigns via Facebook were different demographically from non-social media donors.
So what? While Obama appears to be strongly ahead on all digital metrics, he and Romney are neck and neck in several polls. It will be interesting to see if these metrics are indicative of the final results.
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Quick Takes
Digital Now Represents 30% of Agency Revenue
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Kindle Fire Now Owns the Majority of Android Tablet Market
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Year-Over-Year Sales of Video Games Down
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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