MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Wealthiest consumers’ holiday spending put at $2,175 per household

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — Among the affluent households, the average expenditure for December holiday gifts in 2013 is estimated to be $2,175 down 2.8% from 2012, according to a new survey of the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households by the American Affluence Research Center. However, affluent households spent in 2012 almost 7% more than they had anticipated in the 2012 survey, supporting the premise that people often tend to spend more for gifts than they had planned.

The expenditure per affluent household for holiday gifts is about four times that of all households as estimated by the National Retail Federation, which has forecast a 3.9% increase in total retail holiday gift sales for this year.

Some of the highlights of the special topics covered in the survey include: 89% of the women and 72% of the men expect to receive a holiday gift this year. The most popular items on the gift wish list are some form of "currency" (a gift card/certificate or money/check) among 47% of the women and 43% of the men. Clothing is the second most named item among women (40%) and men (33%).

The assessment of current business conditions by the top 10% of households is now 40 points above the fall 2012 index. This is the highest reading for this index since fall 2007 and indicates good potential for increased spending by affluent and luxury consumers.

The index for future business conditions and the index for change in the stock market are both in positive territory, according to Ron Kurtz, president of the American Affluence Research Center, who observed that "the affluent have a modestly better outlook for the future than the general public."


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SAS Study: Data privacy, personalization concerns consumers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Caty, N.C. – Consumers have somewhat contradictory desires for greater data privacy and for businesses to have detailed insight into their personal needs, and also have seen improvement in how businesses use personal data. According to a new study from analytics technology provider SAS, 71% of 1,260 respondents surveyed said that recent news about government access to personal data increased their privacy concerns.

However, 60% still expect businesses to know their preferences and understand their needs. And 59% indicate seeing an improvement in personalized communications by businesses during the past five years. Respondents with incomes more than $100,000 were more likely to expect businesses to understand them (67%), as were those under age 30 (66%). Those with higher salaries also reported improved personalization (69%) and fewer irrelevant messages (44%). Again, numbers for those younger than age 30 were similar.

Fifty-seven percent of national retailer customers say their retailer understands them. This ranked behind banks, the leading industry with 67% of bank customers saying their bank understands them.

"When businesses use analytics wisely, and with sensitivity to customers’ personally identifiable information, it’s a win-win," said Wilson Raj, global customer intelligence director at SAS. "It’s a win for brands that nurture profitable relationships based on a deep understanding of their customers. And consumers win when they receive relevant offers and communications from vendors they prefer. Data privacy policies require a thoughtful data management and integration strategy to ensure not only effective marketing, but also authentic and welcome customer contacts."

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FINANCE

Dollar General beats Walmart in Kantar Retail price survey

BY Marianne Wilson

Boston — For the second year in a row, Dollar General came out on top in Kantar Retail’s opening price point (OPP) survey, narrowly beating out Walmart Supercenter. The OPP survey, now in its third year, determines how select retailers meet the grocery and consumable needs of shoppers looking for the lowest shelf prices to fulfill their basket requirements.

According to Kantar Retail, Dollar General’s total basket was the least expensive among retailers surveyed, edging out Walmart Supercenter’s basket by just $0.12. This represents a substantial closing of the gap from last year’s results, when Dollar General’s basket of OPP items was 18% cheaper than Walmart’s. Target’s total OPP basket was the most expensive, registering 48% more than Dollar General’s basket and 12% greater than the next highest-priced competitor, Aldi.

The edible grocery and HBA sub-baskets drove Dollar General’s basket lead over Walmart. And while Walmart’s basket came in a close second overall, it recorded the least expensive non-edible sub-basket by a sizable margin.

“For the most part, all the retailers in this study achieved their OPP positions through everyday pricing,” said Leon Nicholas, Kantar Retail senior VP and contributor to the study. “Private labels, however, had a more significant impact than in previous iterations of this study, as the retailer with the least expensive sub-basket achieved that standing primarily through private labels in each case.”

In this year’s study, Kantar Retail selected 21 categories across the edible grocery, non-edible grocery, and HBA segments. In a change from last year, Walgreens was left out of the study due to a lack of opening price point competitiveness in previous years; all other retailers from last year were included.

All data was collected in the southern New Hampshire/northern Massachusetts area in October 2013. For each retailer, Kantar Retail assessed the lowest price point available to the shopper in that category (excluding trial sizes).

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