What's new in marketing research this month: Jan 2013

This month, we reveal the social media tools ad agencies use the most, the top fashion brands in the UK, and the state of the UK's retail entertainment sector.

Health and wellness sector to boom
A study has suggested that brand owners in the health and wellness sector could benefit from a substantial sales increase in the next five years to over $1tr. According to insights provider Euromonitor International, the industry's revenues are due to surpass the $1tr benchmark in 2017, measured against a figure approaching $700bn in 2012. The study reported that 40 of the top 100 brands in the category logged sales of at least $100m in 2011, a group led by PepsiCo's Gatorade sports drink, which generated $956m.

Agencies use more social media tools
Advertising agencies are adopting an increasingly diverse range of social media services when running campaigns for clients, according to a report by STRATA. The media planning and buying solutions firm polled 80 agencies and found that 23% were aiming to use Pinterest, 26% Google+, and 42% YouTube - all enjoying an increase from 2011. However, decreasing in popularity were Facebook (82%), Twitter (37%), LinkedIn (23%) and Foursquare (4%).

Millennials open to brand engagement
Over three-quarters of millennial consumers worldwide want to be "entertained" by brands, and a similar proportion are willing to provide feedback on goods and services. Edelman, the PR network, polled 4,000 people drawn from 11 nations, born between 1980 and 1995. Just 3% of interviewees agreed "all advertising is boring". 80% wanted brands to "entertain" them, with co-creating products the most popular option, ahead of receiving real-time answers to social media enquiries. A further 32% cited sponsoring events, while 31% were keen for companies to deliver engaging online content.

Big retailers struggle online
Major bricks and mortar retailers in the UK are failing to translate their success with shoppers on to the web. Technology consultancy Brand Perfect and insights provider Opinion Matters surveyed 1,568 consumers in Britain and found that, when asked if any high-street retailer offered the best shopping experience across mobile, tablet and desktop channels, 18% said Tesco, 15% said Argos and 10% said John Lewis. However, 61.5% selected the "none" option.

Firms limit social growth
Brand owners are taking a cautious approach to increasing the size of their social media teams and budgets, according to research by Ragan Communications, the publisher, and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions, the consultancy. The firms polled 2,714 executives from communications, marketing and PR, and found that 65% did not have staff that solely focused on social channels, versus 27% that did. A further 5% had an internal team and used outside partners, while 3% outsourced all activity. Upon rating their social output, 64% of firms picked "intermediate" and believed they had more to learn.

Media owners face online challenge
A study has suggested that consumers around the world are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of digital activities, but media owners still face a challenge to monetise their online operations. Ofcom, the communications regulator, polled 9,152 web users in nine countries and found that smartphone uptake hit 64% in Spain, with the UK on 58%. Japan, however, logged just 30%, ahead of the US on 44%. With ecommerce purchases, UK shoppers spent £1,083 per year on the internet, in front of Australia on £842. 23% of UK smartphone users also visited retail websites on the move, the highest score among Europe's five biggest markets.

Zara, H&M are top UK fashion brands
Zara, H&M and Topshop are the leading mainstream fashion brands among female shoppers in the UK, with Chanel and Joseph the leading designer labels. Dressipi, the recommendations website, polled 40,000 women and found that 33% said Zara was their favourite brand, followed by H&M (26%). Asos was the best-performing digital pure-play, registering 16%, indicating the relative strength of bricks and mortar stores.

Digital entertainment sales boom in UK
A report has revealed that while annual digital sales in the UK's retail entertainment sector have surpassed £1bn for the first time, the industry still faces a "tough" outlook overall. The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) stated that digital sales of music, video and games hit £1.033bn in 2012, an 11.4% increase from the previous year, and a quarter of all category revenues. But the ERA also warned that the retail entertainment sector faced "tough times" ahead, as total revenues fell by 12% to £4.2bn, partly due to a lack of big releases and imbalanced schedules. Within this, physical purchases of Blu-Ray discs, CDs, DVDs and video games yielded three-quarters of returns, down by 17.6% year on year.

9thJan 2013

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