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 contactus@infoscoutinc.com and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Spring Cleaning: Scrubbing Deeper with Household Products Purchase Data

Spring Cleaning is a time when consumers use their daily household cleaning products to scrub deeper than just the surface. This holds true for panel data as well; sometimes the most impactful insights are hidden from plain view, waiting to be discovered with a little extra elbow grease. For example, take a look at some top-line metrics for common products in the household category.

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This view gives us a quick bird’s-eye view of how each subcategory is performing. For example, bath tissue has a relatively high basket size of about $95, suggesting that it’s purchased on large stock-up grocery trips. Bath tissue also has the highest purchase frequency, meaning that the category is purchased (by each household) an average of 7 times per 52 week period.
 
Interestingly, dish detergent and fabric softener have almost identical purchase frequencies of 4.0 and 4.1 (respectively). However, these numbers are just averages. They don’t tell us anything about the underlying distribution. Datasets with similar means but different distributions can be problematic; imagine if we treated {0, 5, 10} the same as {4, 5, 6}. An insights professional looking to understand these categories more thoroughly will want to scrub a little deeper past the surface.
 
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A shopper histogram is the perfect complement to shopper metrics because it takes the averaged metrics and shows you the full distribution of the data. The graph above paints a bigger picture than the averages alone for these two categories. Here, we see the underlying distribution for each category’s purchase frequency. Fabric softener is a divisive category; shoppers either buy it all the time (8+ times per year), or very rarely (just once per year). By contrast, dish detergent has a steadier distribution; more shoppers fall near the mean (buying 4 times per year).

 

Why is this important? As a marketing manager, it’s easy to make assumptions based on data averages. Shopper metrics alone would lead you to believe that two disparate categories have identical purchase cycles. In reality, fabric softener has two shopper segments of ‘extremists,’whereas dish detergent has fewer ‘extremists’ and a greater number of average, once-per-quarter shoppers. It’s easy to miss these crucial segments by glancing at a bird’s-eye view of the data.
 
Want to ‘scrub’ even deeper? Are you curious about which brands in the household category are favored by your shoppers? Get in touch with us at contactus@infoscoutinc.com and we’ll be happy to help you out!.

America Loves ‘Click and Collect’

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Recently, our friends over at CNBC asked us to take a closer look into services that allow people to shop online and then pick up the items in-store—also known as “Click and Collect.” Through a survey to more than 1,000 American shoppers, InfoScout determined that of the 34.6% of Americans who have tried Click and Collect, half of them (49%) tried it for the first time in 2015. As CNBC concluded, “Like it or not, ‘click and collect’ is here to stay“.

 

Although two-thirds of America have yet to try this type of service, its staying power is clear because those who use it, love it. Fifty-four percent of shoppers who have used this service, used it during the 2015 holiday season. Along the same lines, 95% of shoppers who used this service during their 2015 holiday shopping indicated that they were very likely to use it again for their 2016 holiday shopping (vs. only 1.6% who said they would be unlikely to do so again).

 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the overall satisfaction ratings on the service are strong. Jaron Waldman, CEO of San Francisco based Curbside, a click and collect app, tells us that across his clients (which include the likes of Target, Best Buy, CVS and Sephora) “56% of people who try it come back and order again”. He also pointed out that many of the shoppers on the Curbside app are also members of Amazon Prime, but they “like the flexibility of picking it up when and where they want, in under an hour”.

When asked about the reasons why they chose Click and Collect for their purchase, one word really stood out among our survey respondents open-ended answers: convenience.

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“Cheaper than shipping it to my house” – Ann from Cincinnati

“Easier and then I was guaranteed to get the item I wanted without any hassle” – Jessica from Tulsa

“Faster than having it shipped to the house but still able to get the online deals.” – Chris from Seattle

 

Even though love is in the air, the Click and Collect trend is still far away from completely replacing regular grocery shopping trips. More than half of all respondents who used Click and Collect throughout 2015 reported only using it between two and five times when, on average, they do 72 fill-up or stock-up trips over the course of a year.

 

You may be asking yourself: Who are the retailers capitalizing on the trend? Topping the list with a commanding lead was Walmart (where 69% of respondents indicated they’ve used Click and Collect service, followed by Target (34%), Kohl’s (17%), and JC Penney (15%).

 

About the Data:
For this study, we surveyed 1,000 of our panelists who have used a “click and collect” service. InfoScout tracks the purchases of more than 350,000 Americans who report more than 300,000 shopping trips every day through our Receipt Hog, Shoparoo, and Receipt Lottery apps.

Why Some Shoppers are Opting Out of Black Friday This Year

 

With our early reading showing a sales decline in stores this Black Friday, we wanted to understand why some shoppers chose to stay home this year after braving the Black Friday mayhem in 2014.

We scoured our database of shopping trips from our consumer panel of over 300,000 Americans to isolate people who shopped on Black Friday in 2014 but failed to make any Black Friday trips in 2015. While this group of “defectors” may have had the patience last year, over 40% decided the crowds and lines were just too much this year.


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We also looked at which retailers these Black Friday defectors felt compelled to shop last year to understand who’s losing out on their Black Friday $’s in 2015 and found out that Walmart, Target, Costco and Sam’s Club lost the most and may be responsible for the negative shopping experiences that drove them to sit on the sidelines this year.

 

So, this begs the question. If they’re not shopping on Black Friday, when do they plan on doing their holiday shopping? It turns out about half plan to do more online gift buying than last year, and specifically, 32% are looking forward to shopping online tomorrow during Cyber Monday.

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Here at InfoScout, we’ll continue to monitor on and offline shopping trips throughout the season, but the early signal is clear. Black Friday’s importance continues to wane as the holiday deal landscape becomes more fragmented and digital.

 

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 101 of our 300,000 active panelists, triggered on Saturday, 11/28/2015 to shoppers who made Black Friday purchases in 2014 but did not shop on Black Friday 2015 (11/27/2015).

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 press@infoscoutinc.com.

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

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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.

 

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For further information, please contact press@infoscoutinc.com

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:

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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 press@infoscoutinc.com

Black Friday: Just an Appetizer for Walmart

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It’s late November and that means three things: ironic mustaches are reaching their peak, holiday decorations are (finally) becoming seasonally appropriate and retailers are jockeying to be the preferred Black Friday destination for deal-seeking shoppers. In recent years, that has meant opening earlier and extending Black Friday doorbusters into the weekend and beyond.

 

But do stores actually benefit by extending their Black Friday deals, or are they merely spreading out the week’s sales? To answer that question, we zeroed in on two key retailers, Target and Walmart. Our team analyzed millions of receipts from the past two Black Fridays, and followed each retailer’s share-of-wallet across key categories.

 

BlackFriday2015_TargetShareOfWallet2014@2xIn 2014, Target focused its attention on the week leading up to Black Friday, with 30-60% off select items all week. The main event was on Friday, when Target offered 10% off gift cards for the first time ever (Friday Only). As a result, Target increased its share-of-wallet during the week before Black Friday and on the day itself, but lost share during the following week when their deals ended.
Walmart did not change its hours of operation in 2014, and extended its Black Friday deals throughout the following week, gaining share during that time. Despite not having any special events in the week before Black Friday, Walmart saw share gains here as well.

 

BlackFriday2015_WalmartShareOfWallet2014@2xWhile Target was able to gain share by bringing savings to the consumer first and offering discounted gift cards, it paid for it in the following week when Walmart’s promotions were just getting started. Target shoppers seemed to recognize when the deals had moved on, and many of them moved on with them. Walmart’s strategy of extending its promotion into December seems to flow more naturally into the rest of the Holiday shopping season, allowing the retailer to avoid any painful dips in sales.

 

So, does it pay to extend Black Friday deals? That all depends on whether you view the shopping holiday as dessert, or just an appetizer.

 

About the Data:
InfoScout collected data from over 2,000,000 receipts for this article, submitted by regular Target and Walmart shoppers. For this analysis, regular shoppers are defined by having visited a retailer at least once during October, November, and December of a given year. Share-of-wallet comparisons view 2014’s regular Target and Walmart shoppers’ % of total dollars spent against the previous year’s regular Target and Walmart shoppers’ % of total dollars spent.

Shoppers Have Already Made Gift Purchases Ahead of Black Friday

Yesterday, we asked our panelists how they are preparing their holiday gift shopping, going into what is undoubtedly the most important shopping event of the year: Black Friday.

To our surprise, the majority (66%) answered that they’ve already bought their first gift. Only (12.8%) say that they’ll be buying their first gifts of the season during Black Friday Weekend.

A factor at play here might be the fact that every year, special sales events happen before Black Friday, like Sam’s Club pre-Black Friday sale last weekend.

What type of gifts are shoppers getting this early in the season, and for whom? Over half of those gift purchases (53%) were considered the primary gift for the recipient. So these early buyers aren’t just accumulating stocking suffers, they’ve already knocked off some of the most significant items on their list, Of those recipients, 56% were children and 44% adults.

Also of note is that 46% of those early gift purchases made by our panelists were made online. This is a noticeably high number when compared to the normal ratio that online sales have against brick & mortar stores, which either indicates that early holiday shoppers tend to shop online, or that online retailers are in for a very healthy 2015 holiday season.

 

About the data:

The insights for this writing are powered by a pre-Black Friday survey completed on November 17, 2015 by 250 of our over 300,000 active panelists. To find out more about this 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 cjacosta@infoscoutinc.com

Client contact for real-time insights throughout the holiday shopping season: Ben Ahn ben@infoscoutinc.com

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 cjacosta@infoscoutinc.com

Client contact for real-time insights throughout the holiday shopping season: Ben Ahn ben@infoscoutinc.com