Millennials Are Today’s Food & Wine Tastemakers

November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

3040348-slide-s-4-meet-the-brand-that-got-millennials-hooked-on-sparkling-wineMillennial foodies are the new “tastemakers”. What Millennials want in food today is what the rest of the world will soon be asking for. This savvy generation loves lots of informal celebrations, intense flavor profiles, ethnic cuisines, more natural foods and lots of snacks. Champagnes like Chandon are courting Millennials as an irreverent celebration alternative to their parents’ brands and are designing bottles to fit their occasions.

Restaurants are working hard to cater to millennials as their incomes and spending habits grow.   Here are some important facts to understand.

  1.  They eat out more often.  53% of the group goes out to eat once a week, compared with 43% for the general population. They eat out more often in all categories – quick serve, casual dining and fast casual.  While they all eat fast food, millennials don’t want to admit to eating it.  They are the least likely to recommend fast food to others.  Fast casual is their favorite.  Millennials compose 51% of fast casual customers.
  2. They want healthy food which means fresh, less processed and with fewer artificial ingredients.
  3. They want food that comes from socially responsible companies.  Types of companies that they like include those who have principles around fair trade, sustainability and fair wages.   Companies that exhibit these qualities include Starbucks and Chipolte.
  4. They like to support local restaurants.  Again this means higher quality food, social ethics, ethnic foods and flavor profiles.
  5. They want convenience which translates to easy online ordering, stellar apps and rewards programs. Starbucks has scored big with their new app revamp for pick-up orders.
  6. Sriracha is on everything.  It is stocked in 9% of American households and in 16% of those under 35.
  7. They celebrate a lot.  According to CEB Iconoculture, Millennials are celebrating more than just the traditional holidays. Super Bowl Parties, May the 4th Be With You celebrations (for Star Wars fans), and single girls’ gatherings for Valentine’s Day are just a few ways Millennials are celebrating outside of traditional holidays.
  8. The line between snacks and meals is blurring. According to research by Barkley and BCG, Millennials tend to snack far more than older generations. It is very common for Millennials to regularly have snacks in the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.

On the alcohol side of things, Chandon reports that 27 percent of adult millennials now choose beer as their favorite alcoholic drink and a lot of that beer is craft beer.   But beer consumption is down from 33 percent in 2012, leaving room for other products including vodkas, wines and sparkling wines.  Millennials like craft brands and made-for-me brands.  Chandon has targeted Millennials with its “celebrate everyday” strategy, moving sparkling wines from only end of year special occasions to everyday occasions.  Since Chandon is technically not Champagne since it is from Napa Valley, the wine has become Americanized.  Chandon has been able to reimagine how sparkling wine can be consumed—and by whom.  Chandon typically sells for a lower price point as well.

But price alone is not enough to lure young adults.  They seek an experience.  Chandon has given the classic champagne bottle a trendy makeover and creates seasonal designs for its bottles.  Last year Chandon put out three limited-edition bottles that are scrawled with the phrases “The Party Starts Here,” “Bring on the Fun,” and “I am the After Party.”   Ideally, consumers can pick out the bottle that matches their personality.  Their marketing also matches this new look with a heavy dependence on social media using image heavy social platforms like Instagram.

“Any marketer will tell you that it is very difficult to change consumer behavior,” Cristian Yanez, VP of Estate and Wines at Moet Hennessy USA, Chandon’s parent company says. “But with sparkling wine, we’ve found that a simple approach works best. I know it sounds a bit basic, but just giving people another excuse to drink a bottle of sparkling wine is sometimes all we need to do.”


Plus Size Fashion Continues to Grow

November 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

SHEVA-Ashley-TiptonIt’s no secret that the average American woman is a size 14. And it seems that American fashion is beginning to take note.

Several things have happened recently to amp up the plus size movement.  Project Runway celebrated its first plus size fashion designer win last week.  Ashley Tipton is only the second designer on the show who has specialized in plus sizes.  Her unique collection celebrated her Mexican heritage, a nod to Frida Kahlo and a fashion forward plus look.  Recently Melissa McCarthy launched her own clothing line which is carried at retailers like Nordstrom’s and shopping network HSN.

According to market research firm NPD group, sales of plus-size clothes grew five percent in 2014, making it a $17.5 billion industry.  What’s more the study defined ‘plus-size’ as U.S. size 18 and up, whereas in the fashion industry it starts at size 14, meaning the growth may well have been significantly larger.

Over the past two years, plus-size sales within the e-commerce category have grown 31%.  Online shopping seems to take a larger share of plus size shopping. Even traditional retailers have more plus size options online.

The Opportunity


Most plus-size women feel that their body size is not sufficiently represented in fashion and retail.  A recent study from ModCloth found that 46% of plus-size women ‘never or rarely’ find clothing that flatters their body.
The online retailer surveyed more than 1,500 women to determine how they feel about the current state of the plus-size market.  They found that most women are dissatisfied. Some 81%  said they would spend more on clothing if there were more options available in their size.


A Google Survey Can Answer Burning Questions Quickly and Inexpensively

November 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

11665626_10153123754483752_7259716457234014637_nWant to know something right away? The Google Consumer Survey is a new way to quickly answer marketing questions like “are brides keeping their maiden names”. The New York Times recently quoted a Google Consumer Survey, reporting some 20% of women married in recent years have kept their names. The Google Consumer Survey is a great alternative for quick-turn around questions. How does it work?

If you are thinking about a pre-test of a marketing campaign, testing some key product messages or gauging opinion or reactions, Google Consumer Surveys could be your answer.

With Google Consumer Surveys, you can write your own survey questions online.  You pick your target, either the entire US internet population or a custom audience: 25-34 year olds, people who live in Nashville, women, etc. The survey can be fielded to a validated, representative sample of respondents whenever you want it.  That means quick results.

Where do the respondents come from?  Unlike traditional survey methods, Google survey respondents are people browsing the web who come across your questions as they seek out online content, such as news, entertainment and reference sites.  I have answered questions on sites like The Tennessean to be able to access stories. Users answer up to 10 questions in exchange for access to the content.  

Google says they automatically aggregate and analyze responses, providing the data through a simple online interface. They give you interactive histograms, clickable demographic segmentation and comparisons, and statistically significant insights―all easily sharable.   Results appear as they come in, with full survey completion within days.

And pricing is really attractive.  General population surveys are $.10 per complete for 1 question surveys and $1.00 per complete for 2-10 question surveys (regardless of how many questions you have).

Surveys targeted towards specific age, gender, or location demographics are now $.15 for 1 question surveys and $1.50 per complete for 2-10 question surveys.

So back to maiden names for women today!  The Google survey found that higher-income urban women were much more likely to keep their names.  The Times compared this subgroup to the wedding pages of The Times. Their results: nearly half of women featured in The Times since 1985 changed their names, while about a quarter kept their names and a quarter did not say, according to an analysis of 7,835 opposite-sex wedding announcements in five-year intervals.

It seems the resurgence in keeping names could be because women now go to college at higher rates than men, celebrities usually opt for their single names and couples commonly live together before marriage using both names.  By the time, women marry, they have established themselves by their maiden name.

So, Google on friends.



Gift Cards Essential to 4Q Retail Marketing Strategies

October 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

redGift cards have topped the list of most requested gifts for the last eight years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that one out of three gifts is a gift card. Retailers should make gift card sales an important part of their 4Q sales strategy. Fourth quarter sales of gift cards can contribute to strong sales during January.

“It varies based on the business you’re in, but it is not unusual for as much 50 percent of some retailers’ business in the fourth quarter to come from gift cards,” says Ben Kaplan, president and CEO of digital gifting and incentive platform CashStar.

And some retailers are finding that gift cards are a better way to promote their products than the typical discounts.  Discounts can have a negative perception.  Customers might think “that you are just trying to move product. If you give a gift card instead of a discount, you’re sending a more positive perception of your product to customers.

Gift Card Buyer Segments

In a recent Blackhawk study of gift card buyers, 63% of respondents had purchased at least one gift card in the last year and 94% stated they would be likely to purchase a gift card in the next year.

So it should be no surprise that birthdays (70%) and winter holidays (64%) were the most popular occasions to buy gift cards.

The study segmented gift card buyers into four groups: It’s a Busy Life (33%), Budgeting for a Practical Gift (23%), The Meaningful Gift (22%) and It’s All About the Gift (21%). Marketers can use this information for gift card planning.

It’s All About the Gift. This is a group that loves to give and receive gift cards. Gift cards are their gift of choice. Although they give slightly less than the average amount of gift cards per year, they spend more on individual gift cards. These buyers purchase more restaurant, mass merchandiser, department store gift cards and open loop gift cards than other groups. They buy gift cards in more channels (than other groups) as they tend to buy gifts while doing other shopping. When redeeming gift cards, most spend more than the value of the gift card. This group is approximately 61% female and has a higher percentage of married people. They tend to be more middle aged.

It’s a Busy Life.   This group buys gift cards for convenience. They are time strapped and buy out of necessity, rather than affinity. Overall, they tend to buy more than the average number of gift cards per year (8.7) and buy them more often for more occasions—for almost all occasions more than any other group. Because of convenience needs, this buyer tends to buy e-gift cards (47%) and they prefer to shop online or on their phone or tablet. There is a higher percentage of males in this group. They tend to have higher income, be employed full time and the group is more ethnically diverse.

 A Meaningful Gift. This cluster of givers want to make people happy. They focus their gifting choices on gifts that have emotional meaning. Eighty-one percent want to give gifts that have an emotional meaning. In the past, gift cards tended to be viewed as impersonal or the lazy person’s gift. However, this viewpoint has changed, mainly because of public opinion. People have begun to realize that people prefer them to physical gifts. Gift cards are the most requested gift and people prefer them.

Budgeting for the Practical Gift. This is a fairly new segment. This group focuses on saving money. Buying gift cards help them budget their gift spending. This group is the most price conscious of all of the clusters. They tend to use coupons and look for promotions. Interestingly, this group uses gift cards as the highest percentage of all their gifts and they do that because they think gift cards are such practical gifts. They tend to give fewer gifts than the other groups and prefer to give a gift that is useful. They spend less on individual gift cards and tend to buy gift cards in mass merchandisers and in the grocery channel (already shopping there.) Of all the clusters, the consumers in this group buy the most for self-use. Birthdays and winter holidays are the most popular occasions for purchase. They tend to buy more restaurant and mass merchandiser gift cards.  Only one-third purchase online. This cluster is about two-thirds female and contains more single moms. Overall they have a lower household income level and tend to have less education.




Five Things You Need to Know About This Holiday Season

October 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

635527976455857363-NAS-DECKHALL-01We haven’t heard Brenda Lee singing Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree yet, but holiday shopping has already begun.  Around 32 million Americans –- or 14% of consumers -– have started their holiday shopping.  Or should we say 32 million women have started their shopping?

Google has identified five holiday shopping trends we need to watch this year, based on last year’s behavior.

  1. This will be the most connected holiday shopping season ever. Forty percent of holiday shopping occurred online last year and this year will be bigger. We rely more on the internet for holiday research than we do friends and family.
  2. Mobile will continue to influence more sales. Nearly 28% of all retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches. Fifty-three percent of those who shopped online used mobile smartphones and tablets to make purchases.
  3. Early shopping will take away some of the clout of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some 48% of holiday shoppers say they did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday, up from 40% in 2013.
  4. Consumers more open to new stores and brands for holiday shopping.More than half of shoppers were open to buying from a new retailer and 41% actually made purchases at new retailer.
  5. Holiday shoppers turn to peer review on You Tube. Of people who watched online videos to help with holiday shopping, 68% preferred product videos from “people like me.”

Facebook Wants to Steal TV Dollars with TRP Buying

October 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Facebook-TVThe space between television and online videos is narrowing. Facebook confirmed last week it is launching a new product to let advertisers buy Facebook ads based on Target Rating Points in hopes of getting a larger share of media dollars currently spent on TV.  

 The product named TRP buying is a nod to the time honored way of purchasing media, with target rating points in mind. Facebook has a partnership with Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings division to verify video ad performance in conjunction with TV spots.

The idea is that media planners can build a campaign across TV and Facebook with a TRP target in mind, based on Nielsen verification. The tool will allow TV campaigns to be extended and augmented through Facebook video ads.

And the results should be interesting. The Facebook blog post says that Facebook and Nielsen studied 42 U.S. campaigns and found a 19% increase in targeted reach when Facebook and TV ads were combined versus television along. When they looked just at Millennial consumers, the reach was 37% better.

Facebook also says that Facebook video impressions were two times more likely to hit their target audience than TV impressions. Of course, most of us know that Facebook has quickly become pay-to-play. Not surprisingly, since February, Facebook has seen a 25% growth in ad buyers.

Of course, the majority of consumers being targeted in Facebook are women. This year’s Pew study found online women are more likely than online men to use Facebook and Instagram. Some 77% of online women are Facebook users, compared with two-thirds of online men.

Starting Today, You Will Be Able to Buy on Pinterest

July 1, 2015 § 2 Comments

pinterest-buynow-01-2015Today you start seeing buyable Pins on Pinterest.  According to their blog, when you spot a Pin with a blue price that means you can buy it.  Pinterest is rolling it out to U.S. Pinners on iPhone and iPad, so make sure you have the latest app version.

Buyable pins are simply the way you buy your favorite products on Pinterest.  The pins will be viewable in your Home feed, boards you visit and in search results.  After putting in credit card information, users will get what they purchase delivered to them once they click the buy button.

What makes this so great is that Pinterest users generally have a strong purchase intent.  They are in a planning mode and that might make them closer to a purchase consideration.  They are searching for ideas for a new nursery, a wardrobe or their next party.  So rather than going to a specific merchant, you are going to a bazaar of ideas that leads to a purchase.

Retailers will be in charge of applying the buy buttons so it may take a while for Buyable Pins to be prolific on the site.  Two-thirds of content on Pinterest is pinned by businesses.  Pinterest says within a few weeks there will be 30 million Buyable Pins all over Pinterest, from name brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Retailers don’t pay for the pins, and Pinterest won’t be currently taking a percentage of purchases. Advertisers will pay to promote the pins as native ads however.  Pinterest did their homework and found users wanted buy buttons.  Almost 90% of pinners have made a purchase because of Pinterest, according to a recent study by market research firm Millward Brown found. With 70 million monthly active users, these Buyable Pins could make Pinterest a major e-commerce player.

Buyable Pins will not be available for Android users or desktop users for a while, but it’s coming.


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