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Key Findings Sept/Oct 2010

Sunday Activities On-Line Radio Americans Battle Obesity
Black Americans and Technology E-Commerce Via Cell Phones Small Business Owners Optimistic About Economy
Consumers Shop Online, Buy In Store Marketing Advice Sources Power of Welcome Messages
Women and Shopping Injuries to Pet Owners Branding Via Social Media
Preferred Media: TV vs Internet Americans and Exercise Military Seeking Alternative Fuel Solutions
Solar Power Taking Off 2011 Trends for Smart Grid

Sunday Activities

Most Americans (83%) say they look forward to Sundays. Some 61% share that it is the day when they take care of the things that are most important to them.

Food ranks high in Sunday activities:

  • 91% have breakfast at home
  • 89% cook or prepare a meal
  • 85% have dinner as a family at home
  • 69% eat out at restaurants
  • 59% entertain guests at their homes

Other routines on this day include doing laundry (76%), working in the garden (56%), and tackling home improvement projects (53%).

Most Americans make shopping trips on Sundays, as detailed in the chart below.

Types of Stores Americans Shop on Sundays, 2010

Black Americans and Technology

The U.S.’s Black population rose 10% from 2000 to 2008, while their buying power jumped 55% to reach over $913 billion. About one-third (31%) is spent on technology such as computers, cell phones and other electronics.

Blacks spend an average of 18 hours online each week, compared to 15 hours watching TV. Most go online via a personal computer (93%) with 76% using their cell phone to access the Internet. Some 50% regularly update or access a social network account.

Consumers Shop Online, Buy In Store

Some 78% of Americans use multiple channels – computer, mobile device, catalog, in-store – to research and make purchases. Three in 10 (30%) say they use three or more channels during the process, while 48% use two channels and 22% use only one channel.

Internet users (61%) research products online at least once per week, while only 37% browse in stores each week. However, buyers are more likely to make their purchase in a store (65%) than online (14%)

Women and Shopping

The average American woman spends 25,185 hours shopping in her lifetime – the equivalent of eight years. She makes 301 shopping trips each year which takes approximately 400 hours to complete:

  • 84 food shopping trips; 95 hours
  • 57 book shopping trips; 31 hours
  • 51 window shopping trips; 49 hours
  • 30 clothes shopping trips; 101 hours
  • 27 toiletries shopping trips; 18 hours
  • 19 gift shopping trips; 36 hours
  • 18 gift shopping trips; 30 hours
  • 15 shoe shopping trips; 41 hours


Preferred Media: TV vs. Internet

Some 42% of Americans say the Internet is the most essential medium in their lives. This is followed by television (37%), radio (14%) and newspapers (5%). The chart below shows the results of whether Americans would prefer to live without Internet or TV, if given the choice.

Americans’ Preference for Eliminating TV or Internet Service by Age, 2010

On-Line Radio

Of those who listen to the radio online at least monthly, more say they prefer Internet-only radio stations (55%) over online streams of AM/FM stations (40%). Internet radio’s appeal includes the listener being able to control the music being played (20%); have more music variety (17%); have fewer commercials (14%); ability to listen to audio they cannot get elsewhere (14%); and the ability to get a clearer signal than over-the-air radio (12%).

E-Commerce Via Cell Phones

Total e-commerce spending reached $210 billion in 2009, down 2% from the prior year. Some 56% more people visited retail websites from their cell phones at least monthly; another 48% accessed shopping guides. The number of people visiting online auction sites from their phones grew 33%.

Consumers Who Access Retail Websites from Their Mobile Phone, December 2009 (in millions)

Marketing Advice Sources

Consumers ages 18-34 say they weigh advice from a variety of sources before making a purchase decision. The chart below shows that traditional media are still more influential than online media for this demographic group.

Most Influential Advice Sources, 18-34-Year-Olds, 2009

Injuries to Pet Owners

Cats and dogs are blamed for some 86,000 annual falling injuries that send humans to the emergency room. Dogs cause seven times more injuries than cats. The most frequent injury was from people tripping or falling over their dog (31% of injuries). Most injuries caused by cats (86%) were at home, with the most common happening when owners chased their cats (12% of injuries).

Situation During Which Falling Accidents Occurred, Involving Dogs Versus Cats, 2001-2006 (Annual Estimates)

Americans and Exercise

More than one-third of adults (35%) engaged in physical activity in the first three quarters of 2009, up from 32% over the same period in 2008. This level of activity is the highest proportion in over a decade, per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Among all age groups, men (38%) were more likely to engage in physical activity than women (34%). See the following chart for details.

Leisure-time Physical Activity of Adults, by Age, Men Vs. Women, 2009

Americans Battle Obesity

Americans (12%) are more likely than people in other countries (5% global average) to weigh themselves each day.  When wanting to lose weight, Americans cut back on their food/calorie intake (57%), compared to a global average of 40%. More than one-half (53%) increase their physical activity, compared to a global average of 35%. Americans (26%) are more than twice as likely as the rest of the world (12%) to order smaller meals at restaurants.

Fast food is a problem for Americans’ battle with weight. Nearly one-half (49%) say they like fast food too much to give it up, compared to a global average of 29%. Some 47% like to eat junk food when they feel down, a habit of only 26% of other countries’ citizens.

Small Business Owners Optimistic About Economy

One-half of small business owners (51%) say their companies have already recovered or will have recovered from the recession by the end of 2010. This is in comparison to 54% who said they were “very concerned” about the impact of the down economy on their businesses during 2009.

This optimism is reflected in planned budget increases for staffing in 2010 (18%) versus 2009 (9%). Some 42% are planning to add to their marketing budgets and 30% say they will increase sales initiative budgets. In addition, 46% plan to expand their online presence and 36% want to grow their social media initiatives.

Power of Welcome Messages

Welcome e-mails – automatically sent in response to an online subscription – are opened nearly four times as often as other promotional mailings and have a click rate of 14.4%, compared with the bulk mailing average of 2.7%. Overall, welcome e-mails have a transaction rate of 0.94%, compared with 0.1% for other mailings. Revenues per e-mail were also significantly higher.

Note that bulk welcomes, sent at a fixed interval (e.g., once a week) to all new subscribers, perform much worse than messages sent immediately upon subscription. The chart below shows the power of real-time welcomes, including those sent with an offer.

Revenue per E-mail for Real-Time vs. Bulk Welcome Mailings, April 2010

Branding Via Social Media

Research on social media users who follow brands online indicated that there are various triggers for someone to become a fan of a specific brand. For example, 75% of Facebook users who had “liked” a brand, say it was by invitation from the brand; 59% said the brand had been recommended by a friend; and 49% found the brand through their own personal research.

The reasons that former fans give for unsubscribing from a brand on Facebook was declining interest in the brand (32%), information offered on fan pages was posted too often (27%), information posted was not interesting (22%), information was published by the brand that the subscriber didn’t like (12%), and information was not posted often enough (7%).

Military Seeking Alternative Fuel Solutions

The U.S. military, the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, is seeking fuel alternatives due to the risks around fossil fuel prices and supply security. For example, as crude oil prices jumped in 2008, the Navy’s annual fuel costs skyrocketed to $5.1 billion that year, up from $1.2 billion in the prior year. The U.S. Navy is now planning to meet half of its energy needs for ships and planes with renewable energy sources by 2020, requiring some 8 million barrels of biofuel.

Solar Power Taking Off

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers produced a record 10,700 megawatts of PV cells globally in 2009, reflecting a 51% increase from the year before. This growth was slower than the 89% expansion in 2008, but it continued the rapid rise of an industry that first reached 1,000 megawatts of annual production in 2004. By the end of 2009, almost 23,000 megawatts of PV had been installed worldwide, enough to power 4.6 million U.S. homes.

In the U.S., less than 1% of the electricity is solar powered. Despite the sluggish economy, 944 megawatts of solar electric capacity – composed of 866 megawatts of PV and 79 megawatts of CSP (concentrated solar power) – will be installed in the U.S. by the end of 2010. This is more than double the 441 megawatts of solar electric capacity added in 2009.

2011 Trends for Smart Grid

Smart grid technology involves power production, storage and delivery at “smart” times for maximum efficiency. The smart grid is important because it is a means to adapt the electrical infrastructure to help fight climate change and meet energy independence and security needs. The following chart shows the smart grid trends to watch for in the upcoming year.

Ten Smart Grid Trends to Watch in 2011

  • Security will become the top smart grid concern
  • Distribution Automation will rival AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) as the most visible smart grid application
  • The “Bakersfield Effect” will continue, but some consumers will actually like the smart grid (The “Bakersfield Effect” is a term meaning consumers assume that a smart grid will cause a spike in their utility costs)
  • Smart meter and AMI focus will shift toward Europe and China
  • The “Year of the HAN (home area networks)” will not arrive…yet
  • The Demand Response business transformation will accelerate
  • The ARRA (American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009) smart grid “stimulus” will finally have a positive impact
  • The standards “horse” will begin to catch the deployment “cart”
  • Data management will be the next bottleneck to the smart grid benefits
  • Existing data and telecom vendors will get serious about the smart grid

Source: Pike Research


  • Women own an average of 19 pairs of underwear; men own 16 pairs.
  • More than four in 10 consumers (41%) are now using in-store or mall kiosks such as Redboxes to rent movies on DVD, compared to the 36% who rent from Blockbuster outlets and other physical stores.
  • Two-thirds of women (67%) say that insulting their cooking for a holiday meal or special occasion is the same as insulting their character.

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