Tag Archives: SALES

Consumers spend on Valentine’s Day

Recession? What recession? To all appearances, consumers are going to take at least one day off from dealing with the sluggish economy and invest in making their loved ones feel loved. That’s what the National Retail Federation says, based on research provided by BigInsight. According to NRF, Valentine’s Day 2012 figures to be a record breaker.

According to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the total spend on the holiday is expected to come home at $17.6B.

One a person-by-person basis, celebrants are expecting to invest an average of $126.03, up from $116.21 a year ago and amounting to an increase of 8.5%. NRF says this is the highest total its ever recorded in ten years of conducting the survey.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay observed, “As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction. Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”

The chief beneficiary of the spending will be those filling the role of spouse or significant other – they will be on the receiving end of an average $74.12 outlay, up from $68.98 in 2011.

Children, parents and other family members are next on the shopping list, for an average benefit of $25.25. Friends and pets are also on the shopping list, for $6.92 and $4.52 respectively.

BigInsight date found that this is one holiday where men do most of the spending – when it comes to clothing, jewelry and cards, they are expected to invest $168.74 on average, almost double the $85.76 their significant others of the female persuasion are expected to spend.

There has been an increase in the number of people planning to buy jewelry, which is rising from 17.3% to 18.9%; and gift cards are in the plans of 13.3% compared to 12.6% in 2011.

Big categories on the day remain candy, in the plans for 50.5%; flowers, mentioned by 36.0%; and an evening out, cited by 35.6%.

Jewels can look for a total payday of $4.1B; restaurateurs are expected to rake in $3.5B; florists are looking at a haul of $1.8B; candymakers can expect about $1.5B and the total spend on gift cards is expected to hit $1.1B.

“Celebrated by children who give Valentines to their teachers and classmates, family members who make sure to send greeting cards across the miles and couples who wish to show their appreciation for each other, Valentine’s Day means more than what’s simply on the surface,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director at BIGinsight. “This year we could very well see some consumers searching high and low and stopping at nothing to make sure their loved ones receive the perfect gift.”

Describing the breakdown of shopping venues, NRF/BigInsight said, “Though discount stores are expected to see the most traffic (37.0%), one-third of shoppers (33.6%) will head to department stores, up from 30.5 percent last year. Online retailers will also see a nice boost from the business of love – nearly one out of five (19.3%) will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day, up from 18.1 percent last year. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).”


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GM’s Super Bowl commercial helped Ford

Super Bowl Ad Aftermath: Ford Boosted By GM’s Fallout?

Playing dirty might be de rigeur in politics, but it seldom helps in selling products—even dusty pickups ravaged by the apocalypse.

That might end up being GM’s tough lesson from its Super Bowl XLVI ad which, to some, spoke less about the strengths of GM products than it did attack Ford’s reputation for durability and longevity.

GM’s Super Bowl commercial helped Ford

Based on traffic and visitor data collected by the shopping and pricing site Kelley Blue Book, more visitors browsed Fordafter the GM commercial—a lot more—even though Ford didn’t have a big Super Bowl ad. Whether looking at the controversy in the days surrounding, or specifically at the window of time during and after the ad aired, Fordappeared to benefit most, if an immediate browsing or shopping of new vehicles was the goal.

Full-size pickup truck visitors on Super Bowl Sunday, 2012 – Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com data shows consumer interest in the Silverado lifting during the commercial airing, leveling off after the commercial and declining after the game, as interest in the F-150 surged, curiously. Despite the Silverado’s lift during the game, Ford’s F-150 still drew a greater share of week-over-week attention from KBB.com consumers.

In comparing consumer interest on kbb.com among the Full-size truck segment, KBB analyst Akshay Anand noted that the share of visits to the F150 surged over 26-percent week-over-week, while the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 saw a 25-percent drop in traffic during the same period.

“Looking at the data for that whole day, Ford did see some lift, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” said Anand.

That leads to how some might have heard the commercial…something along the lines of this: What kind of truck do you drive to the impending apocalypse? If it’s a Ford, oh you sorry sap, you’re just not going to make it.

Advertising 101: Don’t make the competing product your punchline

And that hits hard at one very important factor: brand loyalty. To many, the commercial was less a declaration of the strengths of GM products than it was the buildup to an attack on Ford’s trucks. And it may have sent Ford loyalists to their laptops and tablets to search for reassurance about Ford’s reputation, as their GM counterparts gloated and stayed on the sofa.

“Truck owners tend to be more loyal than those in any other segment,” said Anand, and when a product with that level of loyalty is mentioned negatively in an ad, argued Anand, the response is likely to be one that’s on the defensive.

Other potential explanations: Ford was mentioned bluntly and clearly right near the end of the ad, so is that somehow the name that stuck with viewers? Or does the lesson to be learned really have more to do with etiquette?

It is, after all, one of the first commercials in some time to blatantly call out a competing product without mention of a number or metric as basis.


U.S. auto sales jumped 11 percent in January, led by huge gains at Chrysler Group and Volkswagen of America. Best January since 2008

U.S. auto sales jumped 11 percent in January, led by huge gains at Chrysler Group and Volkswagen of America.Automakers sold 913,284 light vehicles for the month, the best January since 2008. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate was 14.2 million, which matches the cash-for-clunkers selling rate of August 2009.

Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter said January had “a very healthy” sales pace.

“It’s significant to see 913,000 in January when much of the country typically is in a deep freeze,” he said. “We’re bullish with where the industry is going.”

Most major companies gain

Among the highlights:

— All major players posted sales gains except General Motors, which fell 6 percent from a strong January 2011 that had been buoyed by strong incentives.

— All four GM brands lost ground: Chevrolet was down 1 percent, GMC lost 10 percent, Buick 23 percent and Cadillac 29 percent.

— Chrysler Group volume jumped 44 percent to 101,149 units. The growth was led by Chrysler brand, up 81 percent.

— Hyundai-Kia Automotive gained 20 percent overall: Kia rose 28 percent and Hyundai 15 percent.

— Nissan North America sales increased 10 percent, just under the industry average overall. But after being passed by Hyundai-Kia for the No. 6 U.S. sales position, Nissan’s 79,313 light-vehicle sales gave it a 1,102-unit lead over its South Korean rival to start the year.

— American Honda gained 9 percent in January, its first year-over-year increase since April and a sign that its restocking efforts since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan and flooding later in the year in Thailand are working.

— Toyota Motor Sales, which also had been slammed by the natural disasters last year, boosted sales 8 percent to 124,540 units. Toyota brand rose 9 percent, offsetting a 5 percent decline at Lexus.

— Ford Motor Co. increased sales 7 percent in January, with Ford division up 8 percent and Lincoln down 8 percent.

Mazda, Subaru sales rise

— Among the smaller players, Volkswagen Group sales soared 40 percent to 36,681 units, led by a 48 percent increase for the VW brand and 20 percent higher sales at Audi.

— Mazda posted an even bigger gain, up 68 percent to 23,996 vehicles.

— Subaru volume rose 21 percent, its second month of growth after a seven-month stretch of declines as it struggled to restock U.S. dealer lots after the natural disasters of last year.

— Daimler AG gained 23 percent, with 23 percent growth at Mercedes-Benz and 39 percent at Smart.

— BMW group sales rose 6 percent overall, with a 21 percent increase at Mini pumping up a more modest 3 percent gain at BMW brand.

— Other European premium brands posted increases: 31 percent for Jaguar Land Rover, 6 percent for Porsche and 4 percent for Volvo.

— Only two small Japanese automakers posted sales declines in January. Mitsubishi’s volume fell 18 percent while Suzuki tumbled 41 percent to 1,505 units.

Odds and ends

— Tough sledding for luxury: A few luxury brands outperformed the industry’s 11 percent rise in January. Land Rover jumped 41 percent, Mercedes-Benz gained 23 percent and Audi 20 percent. But Jaguar, Porsche, Acura and BMW eked out modest unit increases below the industry average. And Lexus fell 5 percent, Lincoln and Infiniti each lost 8 percent, and Cadillac tumbled 29 percent.

— The industry’s shift to greater North American production continues. U.S. sales of vehicles made in the United States, Canada and Mexico were 77.9 percent of total industry volume, up from 76.7 percent last January.

— Oddity: Audi outsold Cadillac in January, 9,354 units to 8,924. Until Cadillac can get its new XTS and ATS sedans into showrooms, it is limited to essentially three models: the CTS sedan and SRX and Escalade SUVs.

— Best-seller surprises: Compared to the 10 best-selling nameplates for 2011, January’s top 10 list has three new names. The Honda Accord and Ford Fusion dropped out, but Honda added the Civic and CR-V. And the Chevrolet Cruze got bumped by its big brother, the Chevy Impala.

— Guess who’s No. 2? One other Top 10 shakeup: The new-generation Toyota Camry, introduced in September, outsold the Chevy Silverado pickup, ousting it from its perennial No. 2 sales position behind the Ford F-series.

— Trucks bucked: January also changed the list of 2011 best-selling trucks. Out: 2011’s No. 7 GMC Sierra and No. 10 Kia Sorento. In: the Jeep Grand Cherokee at No. 7 and Nissan Rogue at No. 9.

— Cars rule in January: Cars outsold light trucks last month, 474,449 to 438,835, a 51.9/49.1 split. A year ago trucks ruled, 413,962 to 405,924, a 50.5/49.5 split.

Watch those comparables

It’s time to readjust expectations based on the most common industry sales measurement: comparing sales to performance the year before.

— Hyundai-Kia and Chrysler are coming off 2011 performances up more than a quarter, so it will take huge months for them to move the needle much this year.

— Both Toyota group and American Honda sales fell 7 percent in 2011, so posting even modest increases will look good this year.

— Sales comparisons also will be easier for Ford and GM this year because the drag of those dead or sold brands has washed out of year-ago numbers. For GM, no more year-ago sales of Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer or Saab models. Ford has no Volvos and only a wisp of Mercury sales on the 2011 blotter.

Orlando home prices drop slightly

November Home Price Index showed prices of homes in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, including distressed sales, fell 1.2 percent in November 2011 compared to November 2010. Home prices also were 1.1 percent lower in October 2011 when compared with the year-earlier month.

Meanwhile, November 2011 prices were 3.6 percent lower than the year prior excluding distressed sales, and were 4.1 percent lower in October 2011 when compared with October 2010.

A month ago, the firm also reportedSeptember 2011 sales fell 2.4 percent.

Distressed sales include short sales and bank-owned property sales.

CoreLogic also reported U.S. home sales fell 1.4 percent in November, the fourth straight monthly sales decline.

Here are the latest online video advertising numbers

December 29, 2011
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Though advertisers and agencies are often increasing their investments in digital video advertising at the expense of offline/traditional branding/advertising efforts, findings from DIGIDAY and Adap.tv suggest funding also comes at the expense of current display advertising budgets.

According to a November study, advertisers were more likely to fund their online video advertising efforts from offline channels such as print and broadcast TV than their agency counterparts. Advertisers most often planned to shift budget from print (41%), while 29% said they would take dollars from broadcast TV to fund their digital video advertising efforts. Just 24% planned to pull from display.

Agencies said boosts to online video budgets would most come at the expense of display (43%), indicating a general move away from less dynamic ad formats, such as banner ads, in favor of those with greater engagement potential.

Channels Their Clients Plan to Shift Budget from to Fund Online Video Ads According to Agencies and Advertisers in North America, 2010 & 2011 (% of respondents)

In addition, 39% of agencies said they would fund video from broadcast TV budgets. Though findings appear to suggest advertisers and agencies are shifting budgets away from TV toward video ads, more than half (56%) of respondents viewed online video as a direct complement to—and not a replacement for—their TV ad programs. Just 11% looked to online video to replace their TV ads, reported eMarketer.

In the past year, both advertisers and agencies have shifted their primary video advertising objectives from brand awareness to brand engagement, perhaps suggesting marketers are moving away from viewing digital video as a mere extension of TV ads and moving toward embracing online video for its ability to more directly engage viewers in a dynamic way.

By enabling video ads with social sharing and other calls to action, marketers can use digital video as a springboard to additional online engagement on social networks, their website and even mobile apps.

Online Video Ad Objectives According to Advertisers in North America, 2010 & 2011 (% of respondents)

Mobile is a growing area of interest for video advertisers, yet publisher offerings lag brand adoption. For example, 42% of advertisers and agencies have purchased iPhone-compatible video ads, yet only 35% of publishers supported such ads. Differences for Android video ads (31% vs. 28%, respectively) and iPad ads (41% vs. 35%) were similar.

Tablets coming out in full force at CES

Tablet computer makers, hoping to get attention in a market dominated by Apple Inc.’s iPad, are using  CES, North America’s largest trade show as a coming-out party.

Tablet sales could top 100 million worldwide in 2012, GfK Boutique Research director Steve Bambridge said in a Sunday CES news conference at the Las Vegas Venetian.

Amazon is competing aggressively against Apple, especially on price. Ten-inch Wi-Fi tablets, such as the iPad, can cost $400 to $500, while most 7-inch tablets start at $300. The 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire is priced at $200. Kindle Fire is designed to deliver content provided by Amazon while the iPad uses iTunes.

Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet, $99 to $249, offers similar content to the Kindle Fire, from streaming movies to downloading books and access to Facebook.

While these big-name brands have succeeded, others have faltered for a number of reasons.

Rim in Motion’s debut tablet was a bit of a disappointment as the company ended up taking a $485 million third-quarter charge due to unsold Blackberry Playbook inventory.

RIM recently slashed PlayBook prices to $299 for the device, regardless of storage capacity. It comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes. The temporary price cut ends Feb. 4, according to the Blackberry online store.

The HP TouchPad was pulled within weeks of its launch because of slow sales blamed in part on its $400 to $500 price. On the HP website it’s listed as “sold out,” though a 9.7-inch Wi-Fi version with 16 gigabytes sells for $269.88 on eBay.

While there have been hits and misses, more new tablets are coming. At CES, which officially starts Tuesday, Toshiba will unveil its newest and thinnest Tablet at 588 grams (slightly more than a 20 ounce bottle of soda), 10.1 inches wide and 7 mm thick, according to a company statement.

Asus will offer something a bit different with the Eee Pad Slider, featuring a pullout keyboard. Archos just released an 8-inch tablet, while Samsung is adding to its Galaxy lineup with an 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab.

For Velocity Micro it’s a pair of successors to its budget Cruz T408 tablet. The T507 Android 4.0 slate includes a 7-inch screen, a front facing camera and a sub-$150 price.

Meanwhile, the price for the larger 9.7-inch Cruz T510 tablet has not yet been announced.

“These products are an affirmation of what our focus will be for 2012 … smart and affordable consumer electronic devices,” said Randy Copeland, president and CEO of Velocity Micro.

Apple doesn’t even attend the show. But a recent report by the research firm Gartner Inc. expected tablets to see an explosion in sales over the next three years, selling 60 percent as many units as PCs by 2015.

The Gartner report expected the iPad will still have almost half the market by then.

Others are less optimistic. Canaccord Gentry estimates that iPads will account for 57 percent of all tablets sold this year. That figure was expected to decrease in the coming years. Apple’s share of the tablet market in 2010 was 82 percent, which declined to 65 percent last year.

Apple is reportedly preparing both new iPads for release this year. The DigiTimes technology news website expects the new iPad 3 to launch in March, with the iPad4 shipping in October.

Consumers still wary going into 2012

The Harris Poll has made its annual beginning-of-the-year assessment of the financial plans and sentiments of Americans, and it finds continued uneasiness. This is despite a recent spate of confidence polls that show at least mild improvement. However, a bright spot in the study is the finding that fewer consumers will be looking to decrease their household spending than last year.

The most general result concerned overall expectations for the economy in 2012. Almost half expect things to remain about the same – 47%, to be exact. Pessimists unfortunately outnumber optimists by a 29%-23% margin.

Looked at by age demographic, the older respondents were the most pessimistic. The mature 66+ crowd actually managed to be the most optimistic AND the most pessimistic. The chart below tells the tale. As a point of age reference, Echo Boomers are 18-34, Gen-Xers are 35-46, Boomers are 47-65 and Matures are 66+.

Expectations Echo GenX Boomer Mature Total
Improve 23 22 23 28 23
Stay the same 55 51 42 38 47
Get worse 22 27 35 34 29
Source: The Harris Poll

One thing is clear from the survey – the economic collapse experienced in 2008 has had a lasting impact on consumer money-handling habits. Gone are the days when revolving credit accounts and home refinancing kept stock moving off of American retail shelves and out of American warehouses. Consumers are still more apt to pay off rather than incur debt, and accumulating savings is much more top-of-mind than it was before the fall of 2008.

“There has been plenty of reporting on Americans’ financial concerns for the past several years,” commented THP as it scanned the downward trends. “However, looking at Americans’ current expectations for both their own finances as well as for the state of the nation, it seems that the bad news may not be over yet.”

The number we particularly like to see in the latest Harris survey is 45% — that is the percentage of respondents looking to cut overall household spending in 2012. We’d like to see it much lower, but it still beats the 49% of thrift-oriented respondents from the 2010 survey and is much better than the 55% in 2009.
The percentage of respondents looking to pay down debt, invest more in savings, cut up a credit card (or two or three), sock money away for retirement and invest in home improvement have all been trending down over the three year period.

Harris did note that the decrease in houses looking to cut expenses was a positive sign.

Here are the three year trends in a number of fiscal categories:

Fiscal action 2009% 2010% 2011%
Cut household spending 55 49 45
Pay down debt 45 41 39
Save more 42 40 36
Drop credit card(s) 24 22 16
Save for retirement 21 22 16
Home improvements 14 13 11
Invest more safely 9 8 5
Refinance mortgage 5 6 5
Open home equity credit 2 2 1
Other 6 6 5
Nothing different 16 18 23
Source: The Harris Poll

The 2011 results from the chart above were also provided by age demo. It should not come as a surprise that the Mature group results can almost be tossed – if members of this group have not made a few investments into retirement by now, for example, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to catch up – and indeed, very few cited this as a 2012 priority, and in almost all categories, they were far below the national average.

The middle two groups are more likely to cut spending and eliminate debt, while the younger set is more interested in filling up savings accounts. Here are the full results:

Fiscal action Echo GenX Boomer Mature
Cut household spending 42 49 49 38
Pay down debt 35 49 44 24
Save more 47 38 34 18
Drop credit card(s) 13 16 21 12
Save for retirement 15 18 21 5
Home improvements 8 9 15 9
Invest more safely 4 7 6 4
Refinance mortgage 3 9 4 2
Open home equity credit 0 1 1 1
Other 6 5 4 2
Nothing different 21 17 21 39
Source: The Harris Poll

Harris summed up its results, saying, “Americans continue to face difficult economic times and the New Year may not provide a totally clean slate financially, but there are some bright spots when Americans discuss their expectations. Fewer U.S. adults now say that they will cut back their household spending in the year ahead. This is positive news for the millions who rely on the retail, dining and entertainment industries, and may be small sign that Americans are ready to move on from the harsh times of the past several years.”