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Key Findings Jan/Feb 2011

Who Uses Twitter Hispanic Women on Social Networking Sites Complaints About Co-Workers
Sandwich Generations’ Concerns Value of Facebook Fans Formula for a Great Corporate Blog
Online Bill Pay Americans’ Pantries, Then and Now B2B Marketing Predictions for 2011
Cell Phone Usage: Talking vs. Texting Employer Wellness Programs Electric Vehicles: Pros and Cons
Americans’ News Sources Healthcare and the Aging Workplace Traffic Congestion Costs U.S.
Shopping with a Smartphone Older Adults and Sex Americans Across Political Lines Show Concern for Climate Change

Who Uses Twitter

A recent Pew Research survey shows that 8% of online adults use Twitter, with 2% using it on a typical day. Some 74% of American adults are Internet users, which means that 6% of all American adults use Twitter.

Some of the groups notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:

  • Young adults: Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter (14%) than are those ages 30-49 (7%); ages 50-64 (6%); and ages 65+ (4%).
  • African-Americans and Latinos: Hispanics (18%) and African Americans (13%) are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are White internet users (5%).
  • Urbanites: Urban residents (11%) are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers (5%). Some 8% of suburban dwellers use Twitter.

Sandwich Generations’ Concerns

The Sandwich Generation is defined as mid-life adults who have adult children (ages 23-28) and aging parents. About 16% provide some type of financial assistance to both a parent and an adult child. They express more concern about a child not becoming financially independent (11%) than with supporting their parents (1%).

Parents cite college debt (32%) and unemployment (31%) as the most common reasons their children are not supporting themselves. Other reasons include overspending (25%) and consumer debt (19%).

Sandwich Generations Greatest Financial Concerns

Online Bill Pay

So far, only a minority of Americans receive all of their household bills online. Online billing is most popular with the age group of 18-24-year-olds (45%). It is catching on as a standard practice with other age groups including 42% of 25-34-year-olds; 32% of 30-44-year-olds; 25% of 45-54-year-olds and 21% of those aged 55 and older.

One-third of Americans (32%) say they are in favor of companies automatically ceasing to send paper bills once they have viewed or paid a bill online, while 29% are neutral about this, and 39% are against it.

Cell Phone Usage: Talking Versus Texting

Americans are almost as likely to use their mobile phone for texting as for talking. Women spend an average of 14.3 hours a month talking, and send/receive an average of 601 text messages. Men spend an average of 11.1 hours talking and send/receive 447 text messages.

Young cell phone owners ages 18-24 years old text twice as much (1,299 per month) as those ages 25-34 years old (592 texts per month) while spending an almost equal amount of time talking. Those ages 18-24 years old spend 16.4 hours per month talking, compared to 15.9 hours for those ages 25-34 year old.

The chart below provides cell phone habits by race.

Cell Phone Usage per Month Talking Versus Texting, by Race

Source:  Nielson Company

Americans’ News Sources

A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that television is still the main source for Americans’ news about national and international issues. However, the Internet is gaining quickly with a jump of 17 percentage points since 2007.

Where Americans Get Most of Their News About National and International Issues

Where Americans Get Most News

Shopping with a Smartphone

More than one-third (35%) of Americans who own a web-enabled phone used it to shop online in 2010, up from 31% in 2009. Among the activities, 13% made a purchase via their phone. The same percentage used it to check product availability (13%) and find sales and coupons (13%). Almost one-quarter (22%) researched product details or  specifications, and 21% checked or compared prices.

These shoppers are most commonly buying digital content for their phones (65%) as well as other items including:

  • Consumer electronics, except computers (57%)
  • Books (42%)
  • Clothing (34%)
  • Computers, laptops or related equipment (31%)
  • Jewelry and watches (16%)

Source: “Smartphone Shopping Behavior,” PriceGrabber

Hispanic Women on Social Networking Sites

Most Hispanic women in the U.S. (85%) have accessed social networks, including 58% who do so daily. They mostly use Facebook (92%), MySpace (35%), Twitter (26%), LinkedIn (14%), and Classmates (11%).

Hispanic women say that social networks would be better if they provided a greater sense of the Latina community (38%), offered more content that is appealing to them (31%), and urged more Hispanic women to participate (29%).

Value of Facebook Fans

The average Facebook fan is worth $136.38 a year to brands. This value is based on past and projected consumer behaviors; their attitudes and actions based on their friends; as well as their family’s perceptions of their consumer behaviors relative to 20 top national brands.

Calculating the Value of a Facebook Fan, 2010

Calculating the Value of a Facebook Fan, 2010

Americans’ Pantries, Then and Now

According to Whole Foods Market, organic and natural foods made up of 27% of Americans’ grocery shopping purchases in 2010, compared to 20% 2009.  According to Baby Boomers – who ran households 1980 and still so in 2010 – the most common items they had on hand in 2010 were:

  • Fresh fruit (83%)
  • Milk (82%)
  • Fresh vegetables (79%)
  • Wheat or whole-grain bread (77%)
  • Canned or frozen vegetables (69%)

In 1980, the most common items on-hand were:

  • Milk (89%)
  • Canned or frozen vegetables (83%)
  • White bread (74%)
  • Soda/pop (74%)
  • Iceberg lettuce (66%)

Employer Wellness Programs

Despite spending more on employee wellness programs in 2010, only 37% of U.S. employers say they measured their program’s effectiveness, according to Buck Consultants. Employers spent 35% more – about $220 – on each employee who participated in a wellness program in 2010 compared to 2009. Eleven percent of U.S. respondents spent more than $500 per employee per year on wellness incentive rewards, with the largest rewards reported at $3,000 per employee.

Employers’ say their goals for wellness programs are to reduce the cost of providing health care, improve worker productivity and reduce absenteeism. Of the 40% of U.S. employers who offered a program, 45% reported success in slowing health care cost increases, with a typical reduction of two to five percentage points per year.

Healthcare and the Aging Workplace

Each day during 2012, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of older employees in the workforce will increase by at least 80% from 2010 to 2016. Aging adults typically face health issues like multiple chronic conditions, stress and depression, all of which can impact work performance and increase employer healthcare costs. In fact, the healthcare costs for someone 65 years old are typically about four times greater than those for a 40-year-old person.

Older Adults and Sex

More than one-quarter of adults aged and older (28%) had sex at least once a week during the prior six months, down from 38% om 1999, according to AARP. They are also less likely to kiss or hug (58%, down from 65%) and sexual touching or caressing (44%, down from 55%) compared to 1999. Over this same period, these practicing self-stimulating grew to 22% from 12%.

Complaints about Co-Workers

Only 13% of workers say they do not come across any pet peeves with their cohorts during the workday. The complaints they do have are detailed in the chart below.

While more than one-quarter choose not to deal with the situation, some 29% speak with the offending party to try and resolve the issues; 10% vent to a co-worker; 9% go to the boss or supervisor; and 1% leave an anonymous note.

Workers’ Complaints About Their Co-Workers’ Habits, 2010

Workers Complaints about their co-workers' habits, 2010

The poor time management category is further broken down into those who complain about co-workers who take long breaks for lunch to smoke or surf online (22%); abuse sick days (11%), host meetings without structure or an agenda (11%), hold meetings that start late or run over (10%), are distracted by using their handheld mobile device (10%), and miss deadlines (9%).

Formula for a Great Corporate Blog

A recent survey of Fortune 1,000 companies shows that nearly one-quarter had a corporate blog. The blog was most often written by the marketing department, followed by a social media or blog specialist. When asked what makes a blog great, respondents said that having an engaged community is by far the most important attribute. Engagement is defined as blog posts which receive comments and evoke a lively discussion as opposed to just pushing content onto readers. The chart below shows other highly rated traits.

Attributes that Make a Great Corporate Blog According to CMOs at U.S. Fortune 1,000 Companies, December 2010

Attributes that Make Great Corporate Blog

B2B Marketing Predictions for 2011

According to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog, these are the top business-to-business predictions for the upcoming year:

  • Marketing automation and automated lead nurturing will become a foundational B2B marketing activity as we are expected to accelerate deals through our funnels.
  • Customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention re-emerge as key metrics B2B marketers will use to measure the performance of their holistic marketing programs.
  • Attribution modeling will become a hot topic as digital marketers begin to understand and recognize the real cost of  the “last click” problem where results of marketing activities are tied to the last tactic a lead touched.
  • Marketing and sales alignment continues to be the #1 issue impeding marketing’s ability to be perceived as a major driver of B2B business value.
  • The quality versus quantity of leads debate will rage on. (Hint: you have to do both).
  • The ROI of social media programs will continue to be challenged by some executives. Too many marketers and business executives still question the value of social media (mostly in private), while the rest of us catch on to what works.
  • Inbound marketing spend will grab more share of the marketing budget but will stay far from a majority in most B2B companies.
  • The shortage of digital marketing talent will create a seller’s market for online, search and social marketers.
  • Display media experiences a resurgence as advanced targeting, re-targeting and behavioral methods allow marketers to demonstrate real value in display.
  • The brand is back, baby! We will remember that results improve when we balance awareness activity on top of effective consideration techniques and pay-for-performance demand generation.
  • Colleagues and managers will start to treat their fellow employees with a little more respect as the economy turns around. We will re-discover that happy employees create loyal and satisfied customers who in turn improve profit margins.
  • From the fading influence of newspapers for world news to newsletters for company news, traditional communication including email will have a tough time competing with the amazing rise of mobile devices usage for web surfing, texting and micro-blogging for consumer attention.
  • The iPad and possibly other tablets will start to make laptops look soooo 2000-singles as more and more move 100% of their digital work and personal lives to these devices.
  • Source: B2B Marketing Insider by Michael Brenner

Electric Vehicles: Pros and Cons

Only one-third of American adults (32%) are familiar with hybrid vehicles, and fewer (25%) are familiar with electric-powered vehicles. Those who say they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle list these benefits and detractors:

  • Being able to run without gasoline (78%)
  • Less pollution from driving (67%)
  • Lack of need for oil changes and tune-ups (60%)


  • Fear of running out of power on the road (71%)
  • Lack of charging stations or not being able to recharge (66%)
  • Limited mileage (59%)

Some 51% also say they would be less likely to buy an electric vehicle if they had to install special charging equipment in their garage.

Traffic Congestion Costs U.S.

Traffic congestion costs Americans $87.2 billion per year in wasted time and fuel, as of 2007, the latest year data are available. The delay which Americans experienced on roadways in 2007 was 4.2 billion hours, up from 0.8 billion hours in 1982. These numbers translate to an average of 36.1 hours of delay per traveler and 24 gallons of wasted gas in 2007, up from 14 hours of delay and nine gallons of wasted gas in 1982.

Average Time and Gas Wasted by a Driver in Traffic Congestion, by Size of Urban Area, 2007

Average Time and Gas Wasted by a Driver in Traffic Congestion, by Size of Urban Area, 2007

Americans Across Political Lines Show Concern for Climate Change

A 2010 poll by Yale University and George Mason University showed that a majority of Americans support greater renewable energy research, regulating carbon dioxide, and expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Specific numbers from this poll include:

  • 85% support funding more research on renewable energy
  • 82% favor tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient cars or solar panels
  • 72% want to establish programs teaching Americans how to save energy
  • 71% support regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant
  • 70% want schools to teach kids about the causes, consequences and potential solutions to global warming; 60% thought there ought to be courses established to teach all Americans about global warming.
  • 61% support the US signing an international treaty requiring the nation to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90% by 2050.


  • By 2030, all of the Baby Boomer generation will be age 65 and older.
  • Financial issues that married couples fight about include how much money to spend on various items (49%); how much debt to carry (33%); how much to keep in savings for emergencies (26%); how much to invest (15%); and how much or where to donate money (10%).
  • The range of costs for Americans’ weddings in 2010 include: more than $10,000 (26%); $5,001 – $10,000 (19%); $1,001 to $5,000 (30%); $501 to $1,000 (5%); $1 to $500 (18%); and nothing (2%).

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