Graduates Win with Aunts and Uncles

Graduation Season is here! The time to celebrate a lifetime of accomplishments and the beginning of a promising new stage. Parents couldn’t be prouder, Grandma is definitely going to cry, and aunts and uncles apparently get generous.

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According to one of our recent surveys, more graduation gifts are purchased for nieces and nephews than anyone else. This makes sense, especially in bigger families where people likely have have more nieces and nephews than sons or daughters. So what are they gifting?

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Graduates received mostly gift cards this year, with greeting cards and actual cash also among the popular gift-giving options. Other gifts like coffee and cars—much needed elements of adulthood—get honorable mentions. Female grads were more likely to receive flowers, while male grads were more likely to receive electronics.

When deciding what to gift a graduate, the number one consideration was “something that would be useful” in the next stage of their life. One curious data point also related to this decision is that uncles and aunts were more likely to ask the family and friends of the grad for gift recommendations, while mom and dad were more likely to ask the grad directly.

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Gift card purchasers are twice as likely to buy a greeting card in the same shopping trip during graduation season than during the Christmas season. The difference suggests that shoppers try to get gift and greeting cards in the same trip for graduates, while spreading the purchase of those two categories across more trips during the holiday period.


Another tip for all retailers out there: an overwhelming 61% of shoppers return to buy their graduation greeting cards at the same retailer where they bought their Mother’s Day card. So if you’re capturing that Mother’s Day shopper, you’re more likely to capture the graduation greeting card shopper.


As to which retailers people prefer for purchasing their greeting cards, the usual suspects of Walmart and Target show up on top. There is also a considerable showing from the dollar channel (Dollar Tree and Dollar General), which achieved significantly high unit sales but underperformed in dollar sales, a common trait for the channel due to its usually lower price points.


In summary, parents need to step up their gifting game. Spoiling uncles everywhere are going for the cash game while parents skew towards the traditionally more emotional and thoughtful greeting cards.
As a marketer, are you interested in knowing more about seasonal gifting in your category or other aspects of shopping behavior? Are you curious about which brands of gift cards these graduates received? Get in touch with us at and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Forget Showrooming, Webroomers spent more this Black Friday


What is “Webrooming” exactly? In simple terms, it’s shopping online before buying in the store. In realistic terms, it’s simply another tool in an “informed” shoppers arsenal. A strategy to navigate the chaos that can only be found on the busiest shopping days of the year. After all, “browsing” in a big toy store with a herd of other parents trying to get the hottest toy and best deal doesn’t seem at all possible. So shoppers might want to have a plan.


But how does Webrooming impact the retailer-shopper interaction? InfoScout analyzed almost 300,000 receipts from shoppers who purchased items on Black Friday. Over 500 shoppers who made at least one purchase from a key retailer during this period completed a mobile survey to determine how webrooming impacted their shopping experience.


I mean, how many shoppers are really webrooming anyway? Webroomers were a slight majority in this group of holiday shoppers, with 51% stating they were looking online before visiting the actual store. The highest percentage of Webroomers made a purchase in Target (63%) or Toys R Us (62%). By contrast, slightly less than 35% of the shoppers surveyed reported Showrooming, which is the act of browsing products in store before buying them online. That’s right, Webrooming is actually more common than Showrooming.



When are these Webroomers searching online? The majority (63%) are online looking 12 hours or less before their in-store visit. And another 17% are online while they are in the physical store location.


What exactly did Webroomers look at while they were online? Black Friday specials, of course!! 74% were online looking at Black Friday specials. But check out the shoppers who made a purchase in Toys R Us!! 80% of these shoppers were comparing prices to other retailers before their in-store trip – that’s almost double the shoppers for any other retailer. Top websites Toys R Us shoppers were comparing? (80%), (56%), (60%), and (52%).



So can retailers really benefit from Webrooming? Webrooming seems like a win-win for both shoppers and retailers. Compared to shoppers who didn’t spend time online before going to the store, Webroomers were more tactical in their approach – visiting a fewer number of stores but spending more overall.


It’s important to note that with an ever growing group of digitally armed – saving savvy shoppers, retailers will be forced to implement marketing plans that are smart, releavant, flawless, and above all perfectly timed. The retailer must be able to easily provide shoppers with the basics (price, product, promotion, and place) thereby allowing the shopper to feel confident in knowing they made the right plan.


While Black Friday sales might have been disappointing for many retailers and many didn’t even shop on Black Friday, there is still time to woo shoppers in December as they look to complete their holiday shopping.


About the Data:

These insights were powered by InfoScout’s ability to trigger real-time surveys based on observed shopping behavior. The data in this article was sourced from a survey completed by 500 of our 300,000 active panelists, triggered on Tuesday, 12/1/2015 to shoppers who made Black Friday purchases in 2015 (11/26/2015).

Walmart and Kohl’s Winning Share Among Shoppers on Black Friday

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InfoScout analyzed the baskets of more than 160,000 Black Friday transactions made from midnight through 1:00pm Friday at brick-and-mortar retailers to see how shopper spending shifted compared to last year’s big event.

Walmart, Kohl’s, and Best Buy are the stores capturing a greater overall share of Black Friday dollars, along with a greater proportion of trips and shoppers. Early data shows Target experiencing the largest declines in terms of transactions and dollars.


About the Data
More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps: Shoparoo, Receipt Hog and Receipt Lottery. The first 161,849 receipts reported by 1pm on Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s performance by retailer.


Stay tuned to the InfoScout Blog for further analysis of Black Friday 2015. For further information, please contact

Black Friday’s Top Sellers by Retailer – Did Apple’s iPad ‘throw in the towel’ against the Amazon Fire?


After the Apple iPad dominated Black Friday in 2013 and 2014, most pundits predicted another strong holiday season for the tablet. Although the iPad remains near the top of the charts as a best seller once again in 2015, InfoScout’s early read on the top items this year favors ‘throws’, ‘towels’ and the Amazon Fire tablet.


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* After $200 manufacturer rebate


About the Data
More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps: Shoparoo, Receipt Hog and Receipt Lottery. The first 150,000 receipts (151,337 to be exact) reported on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s hottest items based on unit sales and dollar sales for each major retailer.




For further information, please contact

You Won’t Believe Which Brands Dominated Black Friday at Walmart

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Wrangler? Hanes? Better Homes and Gardens? Seriously?!

That’s right, gone are the days of Black Friday dominance by iPads, Xbox consoles, and Samsung TVs. An early read of 15,000 receipts from shopping trips to Walmart between 6:00pm Thursday and noon on Black Friday indicates a very different kind of Christmas this year.


Without further ado, here are Walmart’s hottest products this Black Friday 2015:



About the Data

More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts every day via InfoScout’s mobile apps: Shoparoo, Receipt Hog and Receipt Lottery. The first 15,000 receipts reported from trips to Walmart on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to provide a quick read on this year’s hottest items based on unit sales. For further information, please contact

Samsung, PS4 and iPad Win with Consumers at Sam’s Club pre-Black Friday Sale

On Saturday, November 14th, Sam’s Club held its first sale of the holiday shopping season. An early ‘leak‘ of the day’s deals had delighted shoppers taking to online forums to debate which ones were the best. With 4,272 Sam’s Club shopping receipts from Saturday’s sale submitted to InfoScout through our nationally representative panel of over 300,000 Americans, we decided to tally the votes based on which deals shoppers actually bought.



The most outstanding performance goes to Samsung which sold 1.5-times as many TV’s as its nearest competitor: Vizio. Samsung led the charge with a ‘sound bar bundle’ that seemed to resonate a lot with consumers. We’ve previously seen the effectiveness of this ‘bundling’ technique being used for game console sales.


Speaking of bundles and games, the PlayStation 4 bundle with the ‘Uncharted: The Nathan Series Collection’ game sold more than three times as many consoles as the Xbox One bundle which included an extra controller.


Apple’s iPad Air 2 edged HP Notebooks by a 3-to-2 margin within the converging category of laptops and tablets. The iPad Mini, by contrast, barely even registered in comparison.


The real winner here was Sam’s Club which saw a significant increase in shopping trips and gained a 4% in its share of wallet among known Sam’s Club shoppers when compared to the same Saturday one-year ago. To find out if Sam’s Club just shifted sales a bit earlier in the season versus actually increasing their overall share of the Christmas shopping season, stay tuned for our real-time coverage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Press contact for additional insights or data to support custom stories: CJ Acosta

Client contact for real-time insights throughout the holiday shopping season: Ben Ahn

American Beer: What is Craft Beer?

The second in a series where InfoScout dives into beer purchase data. In the first article we focused on how Millennials are changing the industry. In this one we look into what shoppers conceive as ‘craft beer’.




In the first article of this series we discovered how the times are a-changin’ for the consumption of beer in this country. The Millenial generation seems to be shifting the country’s taste from mainstream lagers to more complex and robust craft beers. But the data from those lapsed shoppers showed that it was mostly Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s and Shock Top picking up the slack. All of these craft brands belong to either Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors. Although these ‘craft’ beers may taste far different than their ‘premium’ counterparts, they are still owned (and often manufactured) by the very companies that Millennials seemingly eschew.


Mainstream lagers have long dominated the market since the repeal of Prohibition. Fueled by an aftershock of the Temperance movement, Americans became complacent with lighter flavored lagers for decades. However, the 1990s brought small-batch ‘craft’ alternatives to the market, which featured more pronounced flavors. Premium beer manufacturers took note. They knew they couldn’t change their existing lighter tasting beers without alienating older, loyal generations. Instead, they started secretly buying or manufacturing their own craft beers, capturing a younger segment of the market not content with drinking what they consider to be less than full-flavored.


But we are left with a very important question: What constitutes ‘craft beer’? Is it the size of the brewer? Is it the taste of the beer?


We hypothesized that consumers might not be paying attention to the size of the operation as much as the taste of the beer itself. The only way to test this hypothesis is to directly ask consumers what they think, and our trigger survey capabilities allowed us to do just that.


First, we assessed the degree to which a beer’s popularity and a beer’s parent company matters when it comes to craft beer. Consumers indicated that these factors were only of middling importance; just 7% and 11% (respectively) indicated that these factors are very important.


Shopper Opinion On the Label


But when asked about flavor and ingredients, we observed a stark contrast. Consumers feel that taste and ingredients are of paramount importance when it comes to making up a craft brew with these factors getting an 81% and a 31% percent respectively.


Shopper Opinion In the Bottle


Blue Moon provides an illuminating example into the situation at hand. It is a Belgian white beer manufactured by MillerCoors, and it is marketed as a craft beer due to its taste and ingredients, which include coriander and orange peel. Some brewers disagree, however, about whether Blue Moon can be labeled as ‘craft’ when it is brewed by such a massive institution. These brewers have brought a class-action lawsuit against MillerCoors, claiming the company uses deceptive marketing tactics to persuade consumers to buy what they would deem to be ‘inauthentic craft’.In general, most people placed very little importance on the size of the breweries or parent company. This works in favor for big beer conglomerates who don’t want their huge business size to be seen as hindrance for being crafty.


But it also works in favor of small time brewers who can let their products do the talking without the need for big brand budgets. Curiously enough, when measuring “brand strength” among the craft beer brands, we introduced our very own (and very non-existent) brand of craft beer: “Concentric Brewing” which managed to get “recognized” by 18% of survey participants as “Definitely Craft” (up there with Guiness and Lagunitas):




As startup people we can’t agree enough with craft beer shoppers: A carefully crafted product makes all the difference.


Want to learn more about what we are crafting at InfoScout that makes it easy to produce insights like these? Get in touch!


American Beer: Millennials are Changing How the Country Drinks Beer

InfoScout dives into beer purchase data to show that Millennials are more likely to defect from premium beer to craft beers


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With nearly 100 million shopping trips recorded, and almost as many lines of code written, our team at InfoScout has created the best way to meticulously measure the consumer’s path to purchase.


At the end of the day, a natural consequence of all the hard work that takes place in our office is cold beer. And we’re not alone. America spends a whopping $100 billion on beer each year. So important that we’ve previously uncovered that it takes a hurricane to stop Hawaiians from buying beer. Beer is essential in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


And by far the preferred type of beer in America: light tasting lagers. The industry has even progressively consolidated around those main popular brands, the most recent example being the merger of AB-InBev and SABMiller. Although, the tides seem to be changing.


If you compare our free brand dashboards for Budweiser, Miller, and Coors—defined by the industry as ‘premium’ beers—to those of the craft brands Blue Moon and Shock Top, you’ll notice how the latter tend to attract a significantly younger shopper. Some retailers, like Kroger (America’s biggest grocer) have begun to purposefully bet on the growing craft beer category.


To learn more about the shift in taste and why focusing on it might be a winning strategy for retailers, we decided to investigate further. Specifically, we focused on a group of Kroger beer buyers who used to buy premium beer, but no longer do so. Unsurprisingly, these shoppers were more likely to be:


  • Millennials (ages 21-24)
  • Single
  • Low Income (<40,000 annually)


In place of the ‘premium’ beer brands, these lapsed shoppers decided to spend their money on beers that are positioned as ‘craft’:

Brands Lapsed Shoppers


Of equal importance, we wanted to know which premium beer brands were hit hardest by these lapsed shoppers who are searching for something less ‘macro’. Among the premium brands, the biggest losers turned out to be Bud Light and Coors Light with a -3.5% dollars spent each, followed by Miller Lite with -1.1% dollars spent.


Much has been said about this generation’s shopping habits leaving traditional grocers out of the picture. But grocers like Kroger seem to have found a way to bring them into the store and our data shows that their strategy is working. Among millennials who buy craft beer, Kroger captures 12.5% of their overall grocery related spend versus just 6.8% among millennials in general. In contrast, Walmart’s share of millennials wallets is actually lower among craft beer buyers.


Of course, during our panel analysis, it wasn’t always the case that consumers stopped buying ‘premium’ beer at Kroger because they wanted to get craft beer. Frequently we observed legacy beer drinkers lapsing not from the premium category, but from the retailer. That is, some consumers continued to buy products like Bud Light, just not from Kroger. Where did they end up buying their premium beer instead? Our Lapsed Shopper analysis revealed the top five retailers picking up the slack:


Retailers Lapsed Shoppers


What remains a mystery is what consumers (not breweries) consider to be ‘craft’ beer. Many of the craft brands millennials jumped to are still manufactured by the big name breweries that also manufacture the popular premium brands. Is it about the size of the brewery? Or is it about the taste of the beer? Find out in our next post on American Beer.


Did this article create any business questions you want answered? Want to know more about how America is purchasing beer at Kroger and other retailers? Get in touch with us to see how InfoScout and the largest purchase panel in America can help your business truly understand the beer consumer’s path to purchase.

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

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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?