Will the Winter Olympics help Advertisers?

Let the games begin! As the 22nd Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, we at InfoScout want to understand how the Olympics can impact sales.

Right now, athletes and spectators are gearing up for the competition on the field while advertisers are holding a competition of their own. This competition is for share of your mind and it’s been brewing for years. We asked our highly engaged panel of U.S. shoppers about their interest in the Winter Olympics just before Opening Ceremonies. Some of what they told us bodes well for the Olympic games, however, shoppers may not be as likely to convert this interest into sales for the largest advertisers.

Three-fourths of shoppers indicated that they plan to watch or follow the Olympics. The vast majority (95%) indicated that TV is one way they will follow the Games. Internet News and Social Media follow closely behind and are likely to be the first sources of information that viewers turn to for the latest on Team USA. Let’s hope that advertisers have shifted a large portion of their Olympics ad dollars to new media.


Just over 40% of viewers indicate a high level of interest in the Olympics; the majority may just catch a few highlights here and there. If you are wondering which events will be followed most, that title goes to Figure Skating.

Winter Olympics 2014 Interest and Top Events

Unfortunately, the only thing that shoppers seem to care about is Team USA and not the major sponsors behind them. Only 13% of shoppers indicated that they would be more likely to buy products from Olympics sponsors versus companies that do not sponsor the Olympics.


Though the games have just begun, already there are some clear winners emerging from our pre-Opening Ceremony survey. Looking at our Worldwide Sponsor Leaderboard, it looks 40% have already seen Coca-Cola or McDonalds ads, however “None of the Above” is surprisingly taking the Bronze ahead of P&G and Visa.

Winter Olympics 2014 Recall seeing ads from these sponsors

Look for a follow up with actual purchase behavior of our panelists, including how the Olympics is driving share of wallet for the big global sponsors.

Survey Details: 500 InfoScout panelists were given a smartphone-based survey starting on Feb 6th. All 500 responses were obtained in 48hrs.

Walmart’s Millennial Problem: 5 Reasons Dollar Stores are Beating the World’s Largest Retailer

walmart copy

It’s no secret that Millennials’ widespread adoption of technology has helped transform many industries. Their use of social media has shifted how we communicate, their adoption of smartphones has changed how we shop, and their use of taxicab replacements like Uber and Lyft is altering how we get around. Even Walmart’s tried and true grocery business has not been spared. As Millennials enter their 30s, they are beginning to influence a grocery sector traditionally dominated by multi-person households. 3 factors are driving this:

  1.  The Millennials (born between the early 1980s and 2000s), at 78 MM, are the largest U.S. demographic group today
  2.  As shoppers, Millennials favor convenience and wear their ideals on their sleeves
  3.  Due to societal trends and poor job prospects, Millennials are delaying marriage and family formation

From 2007 to 2012, the percentage of young Americans who are married fell from 30% to 25%.  As Millennials wait to marry and have kids, their grocery behavior deviates from those of past generations. A single-person household has fewer needs than a full family, and thus purchases a smaller quantity of products in a given week. As a consequence, single Millennials can complete their grocery trips more quickly than someone stocking the pantry for an entire family. So why would a Millennial spend close to an hour pushing a cart around a giant Walmart store when he or she can get in and out of a smaller dollar store in half an hour or less? Using InfoScout’s database of U.S. grocery shopping behavior, we determined this is more or less exactly how consumers shop at Walmart and dollar stores. For example, at Walmart, the average basket is 13.5 items while at Dollar General, it’s only 6.3. We also studied where else Walmart shoppers bought groceries in the first half of 2013, discovering that more than 1-in-4 started spending relatively less at Walmart and more at dollar stores over time. Who are these dollar store ‘converts’?

  •  Lower income: 50% earn less than $60K per year
  •  Unemployed: almost 2x as likely to be unemployed
  •  Young: 43% are between age 21 and 34

By means of InfoScout survey data, we also identified the top reasons these customers are leaving Walmart for dollar stores:

spending#1 Consumers are having a hard time making ends meet:
31% of dollar store ‘converts’ either lost a job or had hours reduced within the last 6 months

#2 Their grocery budgets are falling: 37% of dollar store converts decreased their grocery budget over the last 6 months

#3 The Walmart brand doesn’t resonate: converts are 2.5x as likely to complain about the Walmart brand

#4 Dollar stores expanding and getting closer to Walmart’s customers: Family Dollar, Dollar General, and others opened hundreds of new stores in 2013.  24% of converts had a new dollar store open nearby within the last 6 months (often within walking distance, important to Millennials who are less likely to have a car compared to earlier generations at the same age)

#5 Shopping at Walmart isn’t convenient, especially for quick trips: 24% of dollar store converts say Walmart stores are inconvenient, too big, or confusing to navigate.  In addition, 77% dollar store shoppers name location and convenience as the primary reason why they shop at dollar stores versus just 60% for Walmart.


This trend is not limited to Walmart – So what can retailers and brand marketers do?

  • Offer great prices on the products that matter most to this segment
  • Invest in new smaller-footprint store formats, and make it easier to get in and out quickly
  • Reach Millennials where they spend their time (online and social media), support causes Millennials care about, offer innovative products to save them time, and reward them for their loyalty

Now what Millennial wouldn’t take interest in that?


Want to know what everyone else got for Christmas?

This holiday season, InfoScout tracked the item-level purchases of 125,000 panelists across all brick-and-mortar retailers to identify this year’s biggest winners and losers.  It’s no surprise that those products dominating the sales activity on Black Friday continued to sell well through Christmas.

As mentioned in our previous posts, this year’s top gift was the Apple iPad mini 16GB and the top game console (and second highest grossing product) was the XBOX ONE.  As a direct result, the biggest losers were Android & Microsoft Tablets as well as Sony’s PlayStation 4 which sold well in November, but also sold out before the holiday season.  The year’s biggest surprise goes to Beats by Dr. Dre coming it at #6 with its premium headphones.

Top 15 Holiday Gifts in 2013


* Sales Rank based on gross sales in dollars from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve 2013.

InfoScout’s Black Friday Breakdown

It’s been an insightful couple of days here at InfoScout as we monitored & analyzed Black Friday activity in real-time.  With over 100,000 shopping trips captured from our panel of 125,000+ Americans, we had plenty of item-level purchase data to answer some of the most pressing Black Friday shopping questions. By tracking retailer performance, top products purchased & consumer sentiment throughout the day, we found a couple of nuggets worth bubbling up.

So to wrap up the Black Friday shopping frenzy, we’ve created a high-level summary of key findings & insight :



Interested in learning more? Explore our in-depth blog posts deep-diving into consoles, top 20 purchases at Walmart, sources  of iPad purchases, and more.

For more information about how InfoScout captures data & our methodologies, checkout www.infoscout.co/data

Black Friday Console War

Which gaming console took over living rooms this Black Friday… the newly hyped PS4, Xbox One, or Wii U? Or, would the incumbent PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii consoles hold their ground?


Both Xbox consoles dominated sales on Friday, jointly accounting for 61% of the console market. Their success can be largely attributed to limited availability of the PS4 in addition to Walmart discounting the Xbox 360 down to $99 for Black Friday.

The majority of console consumers were in the giving mood on Friday as 80% purchased the item as a gift, though 10% of those admitted it would likely get pulled out from under the tree before Christmas.

Of users that purchased a console, 85% reported they plan to purchase 2+ video games during the holiday period. In fact, consumer spending on console games surpassed spending on consoles themselves this Black Friday.

Black Friday - Top Games
Here’s what consumers had to say about the gaming consoles…

PlayStation 4

“Too much hype when Sony doesn’t produce enough”

“Expensive. Games are expensive.”

“It’s too high tech none if the older ps games will work with it and everything is way to expensive I think it’s more for the adults.”

“My oldest child wanted a playstation I have no opinion.”

Xbox One

“It’s the only system that has the game my kids want. I’m not happy about it.”

“Waiting to see the first ‘Must have game’”

Xbox 360

“I think its a great system, with the Kinect, the family can get up and move around”

Nintendo Wii

“Fun for kids and families. Love the old school games that you can download”

“Older technology, so less expensive”

Data methodology:
Of over 102k shopping receipts tracked by InfoScout on Black Friday, slightly over 1,500 included purchases of a gaming console or console game. The data includes purchases at all major retailers carrying electronics including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, GameStop, RadioShack, and others. For more information related to our data and panel representation, visit our data page.

Roughly 40% of Black Friday iPads bought by Android users


In recent years, the fight for the connected living room has heated up with products such as Apple TV, Roku, Google TV & Google’s latest incarnation: Chromecast. In this budding ecosystem, there is no doubt the tablet has started to, and will continue to play a crucial role. Looking ahead, it is the central device that we’ll likely be using as the remote to control our television, as the dial to turn up our thermostats, and as the search engine to browse & stream short videos and music.  With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that Google and Apple are adapting their respective Android and iOS platforms to become the brains of our living room.  This begs the question: Which platform, Android or iOS, has the upper hand?

Today, we had the opportunity to observe and analyze Black Friday tablet purchases in real-time.  Our U.S.-based panel of Android & iOS users submitted over 90,000 shopping trip receipts within the day, giving us plenty of data to work with.  As we noted in our previous posts (here and here), iPads are this year’s hottest commodity.  To our surprise, however, we found that roughly 40% of Black Friday iPad purchases could be attributed to existing Android smartphone users.  This discovery clearly poses a challenge for Android moving forward and heightens the importance of Chromecast as Google competes for mindshare in the living room of the future.

Stay tuned as we continue diving in to tablet purchase data & monitor the sales of Google Chromecast and Apple TV throughout this pivotal holiday season…

Most avoided retailer on Black Friday?

Walmart may draw in 50% more shoppers than any other retailer this Black Friday, but it’s also by far the most avoided retailer on Black Friday…


By far, the most common complaints of Walmart shoppers today have been checkout lines that are too long and stock-outs on key products.  Digging a bit deeper, however, we thought we’d share some additional comments from our panelists in response to the question, “What would have made your shopping trip even better?”

“The store was difficult to navigate. Typically checkout is a free for all. This the they had a secret entrance that led you through a weaving maze with all of your items to be assigned a checkout station. It created panic and frustration as people did not know where or how to get into the check out line this year. Good try Walmart but not good enough.”

“My wife not calling me four times while I was in the store, adding crap to the list.”

“Nothing!!! Loved the idiots and atmosphere of this shopping experience!! Walmart never fails to grant the perfect Black Friday shopping. Love getting out with the people and crowds that Walmart always packs in!!!”

“Less crowds, less dirty people in pajamas, nicer employees, more open check out lanes, and stop piling items in the middle of aisles!!! Two grocery carts going in opposite directions can’t get through. Wal-Mart always puts me in a god awful mood.”

“Not handing out tickets 3 hours before sale and then people can leave and come back…people should stand in line and wait their turns.”


“Having more on my list in stock. Didn’t match what I saw online.”

“If they had the grills that were on sale in stock. One hour in stock was a lie!”

“If they hadn’t begun their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day”

“If I physically left with iPad vs having it shipped.”


“Nothing. This was the most organized Black Friday sale I have ever attended. The lines were enforced and sales associates were knowledgeable.”

“Nothing. A worker even helped me out during Black Friday madness.”

“This trip was good because of the bracelet bands they issued to prevent the madness of Black Friday shoppers. Thank you!”