News U Can Use – September

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

WHAT RESTAURANT PATRONS WANT. A marketing survey for the restaurant industry by the NPD Group set out to find what benefits would lure patrons back into dining rooms – and based on extensive patron interviews, it concluded that restaurateurs should consider the following:  (1) promote extra conveniences such as free transportation service; (2) promote freshness of ingredients and good value; (3) offer dishes that can’t be made (or can’t be made easily) at home; (4) determine how their clientele views “affordability”; and (5) “tout” (i.e., market and advertise) the total service experience (Restaurant News, 8/9/10).

SECURITY REVIVAL. Remember fallout shelters from the 50’s?   Well, they’re back (sort of) in the form of underground living shelters to survive natural disasters.   Crime is the real fear, though.   Stats compiled by Rutgers show that home alarm systems ($300 and up) do decrease crime – but 90% of people with alarm systems don’t arm them when they’re home,   giving no protection against the new criminal trend of home invasion.   Invasions have sparked handgun sales, though ($400 and up).   Also big sellers are tasers (where allowed) at about $350; various electronic anti-car theft devices, up to $1000; and window coatings that make glass virtually unbreakable, at a whopping $25 a square foot (Newsmax, 9/10).

STILL BUYING. In an extensive consumer household survey in June (which included a question that asked whether the household had over $100,000 of income), the researchers determined the following planned purchases over the next 6 monthscomputer, 12% of all households and 18% of $100,000-plus households; car or light truck (new or used), 11% of all households and 14% of $100,000-plus households; TV set, 10% of all households and 11% of $100,000-plus; home improvement or repair, 7% and 14%; major home appliance, 6% and 10%; and one or more digital cameras, 6% and 6% (Next, 7/12/10).

COMPUTER FIX. For most of us, getting a hiccupping computer working again has a few downsides – like lugging it to the shop, or paying extra for a “house call,” or the frustration of trying to follow directions over the phone.   But now, many problems can be solved remotely online – i.e., techs can diagnose problems, get rid of viruses and annoying error messages, increase computer speed, and deal with other software problems.   Obviously, physical issues such as a malfunctioning keyboard can’t be fixed remotely, but a YP advertiser who can do remote work should list all the major problems he can fix (Personal Journal, 7/22/10).

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Other recent media/advertising news:

It’s that time of year again…

According to this year’s American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the average American family will spend about $550 on back-to-school items this year.  Some more details:

  • 80% of consumers with children in pre-school through high school expect to spend either the same (41%) or more (39%) compared to their spending last year
  • 94% of parents say they’ll look for ways to stretch their dollars:
    • 76% buying sale or clearance items
    • 63% clipping coupons or watching for store promotions
  • Parents are spending on the following categories:
    • 88%, clothing
    • 86%, shoes
    • 85%, school supplies
    • 34%, electronics
    • 45%, cosmetic services
    • 37%, beauty products
  • Extracurricular spending will also occur:
    • 35% will have kids play sports (spending an average of $150)
    • only 12% will enroll kids in music lessons (the most expensive extracurricular area, costing an average of $280).

Publishers still can’t raise price for online display ads

Mediaweek reports that Internet display ads are still commanding a lower CPM than four years ago, despite some improvement over the past year.  Solbright, a Web publishing firm says that CPMs increased 9% during the first half of 2010 compared with 2009, it reports. But, the average CPM has fallen by about $6 since 2006, due in part to increasing inventories.

New York Times:  Print revenues decline outpaces digital growth in Q3

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that fellow newspaper publisher New York Times Co., (papers include the New York Times, Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune), will post a loss for the third quarter, per their CEO Janet Robinson. The news follows a slowdown in revenues from digital ads and a continued decline in print advertising dollars. The company’s digital ad business should increase 14% for the quarter, while print revenue will drop by roughly 5%, the company said.

What are we really doing online?

We always seem to be hearing that we’re all online, all the time.  But where is our online time actually spent?  According to new data from Nielson, 40% of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities:  social networking, playing games and emailing.

  • 22.7% of U.S. Internet time is spent on social networking (906 million hours)–a 43% rise from last year
  • 10.2% of U.S. Internet time is spent on games (407 million hours)
  • Only 8.3% of U.S. Internet time is spent on email (329 million hours)– a 28% decline from last year
  • 36% of online time is spent communicating (social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging).

Notice “shopping” for local products and services doesn’t seem to be as big a thing as some would like you to believe it is.

Study: Mobile phones are the first stop for some shoppers

MediaPost/Online Media Daily reported that so far only a small segment of consumers prefer to shop using their mobile devices, according to a report from Millennial Media and comScore. Among the 8% of survey respondents who use their phones for shopping, 27% said they had shopped via only mobile during the previous month, while the rest reported spreading their spending among mobile, in-store and online.


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