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What's new in marketing research this month…

This month, we discover how luxury brands are embracing digital, why UK marketers prefer small agencies, and the future performance of online retail outlets.

UK shoppers turn to mobile devices
Nearly 20% of consumers in the UK have researched products on a mobile phone or tablet prior to purchasing them in store, a study has revealed. The retail app Udozi and polling group YouGov surveyed 2,015 people and found that 35% of tablet owners and 26% of smartphone users had engaged in this activity. 18% of respondents and 22% of smartphone users agreed better customer service information would improve the mcommerce experience, while 30% disliked having to download apps for each individual retailer.

Digital attracts luxury groups in UK
Brands and retailers in the UK luxury sector are increasingly embracing ecommerce, social media and mobile to engage consumers. Drapers, the trade title, polled luxury brands, agents and retailers, and found that 93% thought their online business would grow in the next year, with 54% pegging the rate of expansion at over 10%. The study also found that 97% of luxury brands are active on Twitter, 94% use Facebook, 57% are on Pinterest, while Instagram and Google+ both registered 37%.

Luxury brands aim for ‘lifestyle' status
Increasing numbers of luxury goods companies are attempting to build ‘lifestyle brands' with relevance to consumers across a range of different categories. The consultancy McKinsey conducted interviews with 20 groups, including Hermès, Roberto Cavalli and jeweller Harry Winston, and found that 70% believed they were "luxury lifestyle brands". The brands achieving the best ratings in terms of lifestyle scores leveraged traditional tools like magazine and video content, and also exploited blogs, social media and apps.

UK marketers prefer small agencies
More than half of client-side marketers in the UK would prefer to work with small advertising agencies, new figures show. FindGood, the agency search and selection firm, drew on data from 333 executives representing brand owners, and found 32% believed agencies with ten staff or less constituted the ideal partner. Some 64% of the sample afforded the same status to owner-managed agencies. With budgets, 37% expected to post higher expenditure in 2012, while 45% were set to maintain spending levels. Only 11% planned to cut back.

Sony and Samsung focus on apps
Nearly 90% of the world's biggest brands now have a presence in Apple's App Store, with Sony, Samsung and Disney among the operators boosting their focus on apps. Distimo, the insights provider, assessed the 100 top global brands as identified by Interbrand, and discovered that a total of 88 were leveraging this medium in the US. In terms of US download levels in September 2012, Apple took the top spot ahead of Disney. Facebook, Google and eBay completed the top five.

Consumer confidence falls in UK
Consumer confidence levels are declining in the UK, dampening prospects of rising expenditure rates among shoppers. GfK, the research firm, revealed its barometer of popular sentiment stood at -30 points in October, down by two points from September and the worst performance in six months. Although the latest figures were better than the -32 points recorded in October 2011, GfK warned that an attitude of caution remains discernible.

Young consumers mix media channels
Social networks and smartphones hold a key role in the media and communications habits of young consumers, but traditional channels such as TV still have a place, multi-market research has revealed. Credit Suisse, the financial services firm, polled 3,000 people aged 16-25 years old in three countries, and found 66% relied on TV to stay informed about daily events, while 64% relied on online news sites and 56% turned to Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and MySpace. Paid-for daily newspapers registered just 30%.

Ecommerce to gain in UK
Online outlets are set to capture a third of the UK retail market by 2022, a new forecast from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has shown. The research firm's latest study suggests that ecommerce firms will rapidly gain market share due to continued adoption of digital devices. Currently, the online segment accounts for 13% of overall sales. In terms of platforms, mobile and social media will become increasingly important in shaping shoppers' purchase decisions, while bricks-and-mortar stores were said to face the risk of being driven out of business if they did not adapt and optimise their online outlets.

4thDec 2012


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