July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Back-to-school is in full swing now. The traditional back-to-school season has changed and marketers need to make note. The reason for many of these changes are year-round school schedules, just-in-time shopping, online shopping habits and budgets. The back-to-school season has become more of a pinnacle of an ongoing activity than a confined season.
How big is back-to-school? The average family will spend $670 on shopping this year, up 5% from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation. However, 21% of families with children in elementary, middle school or high school reported in a NRF survey they will spend less this year.
Did you know? Combined school and college spending was estimated at $72.5 billion, making it the second-biggest season for retailers. Winter holiday ranks first at $84 billion and Mother’s Day comes in at third at $21 billion.
Here are five things to know about this year.
1. Back-to-school shopping starts in July. Americans began their search as early as June last year. Google conducted a study during the 2013 season and found that 23% of respondents began back-to-school research before July 4, with nearly two-thirds (65%) starting by the end of July. In contrast, only 35% said they made a purchase by the end of July.
The spending is spread out over several months, with traditional spending in August and September. The early shoppers take advantage fresh merchandise, early bird sales and comparison shopping, while the later shoppers are necessity shopping and maybe taking advantage of end-of-season sales.
One difference in the early and traditional shopper may be their form of shopping. The early shoppers are using their desktop and tablets to shop, while the more traditional are using mobile devices and shopping in-store.
During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.
2. Just in time shopping. The mall has been replaced by online and teens are constantly shopping for new ideas. The world of disposable fashion has lead teens to take advantage of affordable retailers and wait to see what their friends are wearing. Digital-native students are shopping constantly throughout the year, even if they’re not buying.
Just-in-time shopping also shows that as many as 50% parents only buy what is essential for back to school and then buy additional needs during the holiday season, when they expect the best deals. It is a way of spreading out the shopping expense to make it more manageable for their budget. And parents are saving money by buying store-brand items, shopping sales and using coupons.
3. Online is #3 destination. eMarketer forecasts that digital sales for the back-to-school season will increase 16.0% in 2014. One-third of all back-to-school shoppers will make an online purchase, and 45% of back-to-college shoppers will head online. According to Deloitte, among top back-to-school shopping destinations in 2013, 36 percent of consumers shopped online, moving online shopping to the third destination behind discount and office supply/technology stores, a significant jump from the No. 8 position in 2012.
4. College Online Spending Big. More than $3 of every $5 aimed at back-to-school clothes and supplies is spent on college-bound students. A PM Digital report shows online shoppers stealing 37% of this market as the online college segment spends over $1,100 per family. In fact, shopping expenditures are higher online – with 37.3% K-12 and 37.1% college students buying through e-commerce.
5. Smartphone Tool for Shopping. During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.
What should marketers do this season?
1. Make sure your campaigns are live now and active through September. To stand out, thing about using video and consumer stories to help tell the story. Search should be already in place.
2. Make sure content is available on tablet and mobile. Don’t forget social. Hashtags like #stapleshasit and L.L.Bean’s #packmentality, which leapt from social media into display, email and print last season, will proliferate in 2014.
3. Solicit stories from your customers to drive positive reviews.
4. Time your sales (early-bird and end of season) to match buying periods.
5. Differentiate between back-to-school and back-to-college.
April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
I just returned from the LA Festival of Books and on my plane trip home, as I juggled between my iPad and a paperback, I wondered about the future of reading. Some think we are in a transition as disruptive as Gutenberg’s printing presses more than 500 years ago. In fact, some in Silicon Valley think Gutenberg was the first technology geek and call him their patron saint.
The Facts, Please!
Women contributed to 58% of book purchases in 2012, up from 55% in 2011.
According to Pew Research, more than 50% of Americans now have some type of handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle– for reading e-content. That number is up from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September 2013, so adoption is growing.
Some 76% of all adults have read a book in the past year, but 82% of women have read a book in the past year. The typical adult read or listened to five books during the year but the median number of books read by women was 14 books. Those who read books on an e-reader tend to be more female, while gender is fairly evenly split on iPad book readership. The amount we read has stayed fairly level the past few years.
But here’s an interesting statistic. The majority of those reading e-readers still read print books as well. Among adults who read at least one book in the past year, just 5% said they read an e-book in the last year without also reading a print book.
Sure, publishing is changing. Bookstores have become curated collections, not mass marketers, and writers are unchained and able to post their own books to Amazon. But as I walked through the LA Festival of Books and saw and heard people lovingly hold and share their books and heard authors speak of their inspirations, I realized that story is still alive and well. And that is the future of reading.
September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
Whether we have the latest smartphone or a second generation tablet, we are all using them to shop! A recent study by AOL showed that the conversion rate for mobile purchases grew 28%. What does that mean? Well, it means that people actually made a purchase while on their mobile device. A whopping 31% of conversions across four verticals occurred while using a mobile device. And the industries with the highest conversion rates were telecom, retail, auto and travel.
Mobile Device Share of Online Conversions (% on Smartphone and Tablet; August 2013) The findings are based on analytics from more than 500 billion online ad impressions and 100M conversion events across all devices, such as mobile phones, desktop computer and tablets.
Telecom – Purchase of a new plan or device – 37%
Retail – Make a purchase – 35%
Auto – Find dealer, request info, configure, travel – 22%
Travel – Book hotel, flight or car reservation – 20%There has been a misconception that mobile really means only mobile – that we are using devices only on the go. But actually 25% of our digital is spent at home and that is where we are viewing and purchasing many things. And 75% of all mobile ad impressions were viewed within the home. A lot of that has to do with the amazing adoption of tablets, iPads in particular.
“What we’re learning is that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices in much the same way they do with their computers when they’re at home,” said Chad Gallagher, director of mobile for AOL networks. “Looking at holistic impression volume, 25 percent of all digital impressions are consumed on a mobile device at home – which speaks to why users are performing complex functionality on their mobile devices. The data means that companies must understand mobile tracking and enable technology that can run across all platforms to account for the massive business opportunity on mobile devices. Net-net, we need to re-think how we market through the tablet. Marketers are realizing that they can’t afford to run desktop-only campaigns anymore.”
Historically, advertisers focus on branding or driving the purchase of mobile-centric offerings. The AOL points to an opportunity to drive conversions for a much wider array of products and services through mobile.
April 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
I love Mother’s Day. Of course, I do. I am a mother. I love spending time with my son and daughter. I love silly cards, I love sweet cards. I love flowers. I love handmade things. I love hugs and kisses. Seems I am not too different from others. A gift is good but love is best.
Market researcher NPD found that of the more than 2,000 moms of kids 18 and younger it surveyed, a handmade gift from their child was on the top of the list, chosen by 14.6%. In the study commissioned by Child’s Play Communications, the second most popular gift was a day off entirely for herself (13.6%), closely followed by a spa day (12.9%). Only 1.3% say they want breakfast in bed.
In a different study, National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, consumers indicated they will spend an average of $168.94 on mom, up 11 percent from last year’s $152.52. The survey found 14.1 percent of shoppers – the highest in the survey’s history – will spend more than $2.3 billion on electronics, treating Mom to a tablet or smartphone. And more than one-third (34.4%) of gift givers will buy jewelry, spending a total of $4.2 billion. That’s a lot of glitz! Also setting a record is the fact that nearly three in 10 (28.5%) Americans will buy their gifts online, up from 25.6 percent last year. Mother’s Day can mean purchasing gifts for their wife, daughter, grandmother, sister, mother or stepmother. If you are marketing to women, don’t forget that many of these women are guiding or actually doing the purchasing of these items.
That Takes the Cake! The History of Mother’s Day
Seems honoring Mother has long been a tradition. In 16th century England a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was held annually—a Sunday set aside for visiting one’s mother. The eldest son or daughter would bring a “mothering cake,” which would be cut and shared by the entire family. Family reunions were the order of the day, with sons and daughters assuming all household duties and preparing a special dinner in honor of their mother. Sometime during the day the mother would attend special church services with her family.
Here in the US, the day was first celebrated on May 10, 1908, when a special Mother’s Day service was held in a church in West Virginia, at the insistence of Anna Jarvis. She campaigned heavily to have the day observed first in West Virginia, then finally the U.S. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday in May as a legal holiday to be called “Mother’s Day”—dedicated “to the best mother in the world, your mother.”
April 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
It is becoming hard to say travel without talking about mobile devices today. By 2014, smartphones and tablets are on track to capture nearly one in five travel dollars. And those who are marketing travel to women should take note of some of the opportunities and challenges.
Travel Decisions Made by Women
Some 80% of all travel decisions are made by women and 40% of travel is planned using a mobile device. The tablet is the preferred device for planning travel and the smartphone is the choice for booking trips while on the go. In fact, three-quarters (76%) of us reach for the smartphone when booking travel on the go.
Poor Mobile Experiences
So you know the drill – you are traveling and something happens to cause you to change your airline reservations. You go to your handy app. But you have a hard time loading the information, it gets confusing and then, you just call the airlines or the hotel or the car rental or the restaurant because it was a hassle figuring it out on that handy app. It’s happened to me before – and apparently, lots of others. A ResearchNow study released by Mobiquity shows the top negatives:
- 60% of smartphone owners, 52% of tablet owners found mobile travel sites slow to load
- 51% of tablet owners rated search and selection options on travel apps as complicated
- 20% of tablet owners were disappointed the apps were not integrated with their loyalty programs
Poor mobile experiences can cause travelers to take an alternative course and could result in decreased revenue for travel brands. More than a third (35%) of connected travelers would be less likely to book again with the travel brand after a slow, confusing of non-optimized experience when research or booking travel on a mobile device. Some of the issues in addition to slow load time are complicated search and selection, poor navigation, not linked to loyalty programs or not designed.
Top Mobile Travel Apps
The top mobile websites mostly include airlines and travel aggregators, such as TripAdvisor and Priceline.com. Of the 8% of iPhone users that use travel apps, the top airline apps are:
United Airlines (1.6%)
Southwest Airlines (1.5%)
Fly Delta (1.3%)
American Airlines (1.3%)
Some of the other popular apps for travel are included in the following infographic:
- Travel fragmentation is extending to mobile (tnooz.com)