AUGUST 20, 2012

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The Lipstick Effect: Maintaining Beauty During a Recession
Economic challenges have forced consumers to cut spending in many areas. However, a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology uncovers that the recession may have the opposite effect on beauty. The researchers looked at nearly 20 years of data and found that when unemployment rises, spending on cosmetics tend to increase. In an effort to dig deeper into this trend the researchers conducted a study of male and female college students. They primed a variable group of students with articles about the recession and then asked them about purchase intent on a list of products. The women exposed to the recession article were more likely to show a desire to purchase beauty products than those that were not exposed to the recession article; conversely, men exposed to the recession article expressed lower purchase intent across all of the products.
So what? The researchers hypothesize a number of reasons as to why women increase their beauty spend during recession, such as morale boosting or a primal need to enhance desirability and attractiveness in an uncertain time. Whatever the reasons may be, the data illustrate cosmetics might be on the short list of recession-proof products in the marketplace.
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Not All Tablet Owners Alike
The nearly 70 million tablet owners in the US are highly satisfied with their devices, according to a new comScore report. Owners of iPads, Kindle Fires and Androids (non-Kindle) collectively rated their device satisfaction at an 8.6 on a 10 point scale. While iPad owners were slightly more satisfied (8.8) than owners of the other brands, the overall levels were remarkably consistent. However, the demographics of ownership reveal some key differences: • Women are more likely to own a Kindle Fire than men. iPad ownership skews higher among men than women. • Wealthier consumers are more likely to own an iPad. • Kindle Fire owners are more likely to buy based on price, while iPad owners are more likely to buy based on brand.
So what? As Condé Nast continues to develop tablet executions, differences in audience demographics and motivations should be considered.
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Obama Holds the Digital Edge Over Romney
A study from the Pew Research Center examined the digital activity of the campaigns of President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney. Pew found that Obama held a significant advantage over Romney in digital engagement during the measured period of June 4-17. Obama's campaign posted nearly four times as much content as Romney's. Obama also has a much broader reach, outnumbering Romney's Facebook likes by more than 23 million and Twitter followers by 17 million. Their respective strategies on Twitter illustrate the most significant difference between the two campaigns as Obama is tweeting an average of 29 times per day compared to Romney's one. There are also some differences in what the campaigns are using social media to discuss; while they use roughly the same percentage of their content to discuss the economy, Romney focused on jobs twice as much as Obama.
So what? Mitt Romney's campaign has not made the same digital and social media commitment of Barack Obama's campaign. While there may not be a correlation between social media engagement and electoral votes, it will be interesting to see how social media affects this election. If Romney defeats Obama in November, it may lead us to reassess the importance of social media metrics for fan development.
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Online Video Viewers OK with Ads
A new report by FreeWheel (online video monetization firm) examined how consumers reacted to ads embedded in online video. FreeWheel looked at 10.1 billion video ads in the second quarter of this year and found that long-form content (videos running 20 minutes or longer) were most successful at retaining viewers through the entire video. The firm found that online video viewers viewed 91% of the ads within the long-form content. The 9% avoidance rate was even lower than the skip rate on broadcast television (Nielsen reported that viewers skipped 13.5% of ads on the big four networks during this past television season). Overall, acceptance of ads is improving across all video lengths compared to previous measurement periods.
So what? As consumers slowly move to a la carte programming and away from their cable boxes, they will become more accustomed to the online video environment. This study shows they are also growing accustomed to advertising in that environment. Condé Nast brands will have an opportunity to bring in new advertisers and expand current relationships as online video ads become a bigger part of the marketing mix.
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Quick Takes
eBay, Amazon and Groupon Own the Most Popular Shopping Apps
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As Cable Providers Lose Subscribers, Netflix Gains Subscribers
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A Comparison of How Poor, Middle Class and Rich Spend Their Money
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People Observe More than Share on Social Media
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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 |

Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights