OCTOBER 15, 2012

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National Retail Federation Projects Holiday Sales Up 4.1%
The NRF published its Holiday Handbook and the group's early estimate is that holiday sales in 2012 will reach $586.1 billion, up 4.1% over last year's $563 billion. That increase would be slightly better than the average year-over-year growth for the past 10 years -- 3.5%. The online spend will represent about 16% of the total holiday spend and register at $92-96 billion. Online sales are expected to grow by 12% over last year. Nearly four out of five shoppers don't plan to wait, and will start their shopping prior to December.
So what? While growth of 4% may sound modest, it will represent the third straight year of sustained growth for retailers after 2008 and 2009 when sales were down and flat respectively. The importance of holiday sales cannot be overstated, as for many retailers they represent a significant portion of their annual sales. In 2011, the holidays accounted for 28% of all sales for jewelry stores and 24% of all sales for department stores.
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MPA: Digital Enabling Magazines to Expand their Footprint
MPA - The Association of Magazine Media released research last week that demonstrated growth within the magazine industry over the past two years. MPA attributes the growth to greater investment by publishers and advertisers in online and tablets. According to Kantar Media, nearly 15,000 unique brands advertised with magazines through print, web and tablet in the first half of 2012. That's an increase of 57% from the same period two years ago when just over 9,500 brands advertised. On tablets, magazine content continues to be very popular: 13 of the 15 highest-grossing iPad lifestyle apps are magazine apps and 10 of the 15 highest-grossing health & fitness apps are magazine apps.
So what? The magazine industry continues to transform itself into a multimedia industry and Condé Nast has led that charge. The continued development of digital platforms allows us to engage with a host of new advertisers and develop more sophisticated marketing plans for the more traditional partners.
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Viewers Frustrated with TV
As the avenues for accessing video content grow, consumers are becoming more frustrated with their television viewing experience. According to Digitalsmiths' latest video trends report, 70% of cable subscribers have difficulty finding a program that they want to watch. Nearly half spend 10 minutes channel surfing before finding a program and 30% spend between 10 and 20 minutes before settling on a program. As a result, consumers are increasingly turning to other services such as Redbox or Netflix. Digitalsmiths concludes that the lack of useful content discovery tools is the key point of consumer frustration.
So what? As ad dollars have shifted from traditional media to digital media, print has felt the effects more than television. However, while advertisers pay for TV commercial minute ratings, the practice of heavy channel surfing suggests that ad exposure may often be incidental. Condé Nast should continue to remind marketers that readers engaging with magazines ads are choosing that experience while television viewers are often looking for ways, whether it be surfing or subscribing to rental/streaming services, to avoid commercials.
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comScore: The State of the Internet
comScore presented an update on the state of the internet and covered a number of areas of interest: - Internet usages continues to grow rapidly in Russia (+21% more users than last year) and India (+38%); as a point of comparison, users grew 3% over last year in the US. - Among the reported categories globally, news/information (+17%), community (+16%) and retail (+15%) grew the most over last year. - Traffic among the major US social media sites is highly intertwined. For example, 24% of Facebook visitors visit Twitter as well. One out of five visitors to Tumblr visit Pinterest. - Social media is an important part of the presidential election. One-quarter of traffic to MittRomney.com is referred from Facebook; 12% of entries to BarackObama.com come from Facebook.
So what? This is a useful update from comScore for anyone with digital responsibilities. It is also encouraging for Condé Nast to know that digital growth in the news/information and retail categories are outpacing other categories. Last week's CNtelligence reported on Americans' shifting news consumption to digital and explored the opportunity CN might have to own a piece of that growth.
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Quick Takes
VEVO and Warner Music Have the Most Successful Channels on YouTube
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Apple Tops the List of the World's Most Powerful Brands
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Cable Subscribers and Nonsubscribers Use Online Video Subscription Services at the Same Rate
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Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users
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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

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