Back To School 2020

Back to School (BTS) is one the biggest retail sales and marketing events of the year. Parents liken it to Christmas – and not in a good way! For them it’s just as expensive, crowded, stressful and they have little time to prepare. They’re looking for ways to save money, time and their sanity!

What can retailers and brands do to get top marks from BTS shoppers and in their sales budgets alike?

This report documents the BTS shopping attitudes, expectations, behaviours and even frustrations of 600 Australian households with school-aged kids. We share insights from where parents plan to buy BTS supplies in 2020 to what groceries they intend to include in their kids’ packed lunches this year.

We think you’ll find it’s a real education >>

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Santa Survey 2019

Posing as the “North Pole Research Centre”, we asked over 3,500 kids
across six countries (Australia, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and
the U.K.) to share their top Christmas wishes.
 
“By taking this survey,” the questionnaire read, “you’ll help Santa and his
elves ensure they make the right kinds and amounts of toys and
other gifts this year.“
 
TOO CUTE!
 
Take a sneak peek at Santa’s Wishlist here >>

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Grocery Shopping with Gen Z


Can you believe that the kids who grew up not knowing dial-up internet or mobile phones before SMS, are reaching adulthood?

Yep, Gen Z are growing up and Australia’s 18-22 year old ‘littlest shoppers’ are not so keen on a little shop called Coles, it seems.

What other surprises did our ‘Grocery Shopping with Gen Z report’ uncover?

Take a look.   

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The Beauty Report

$6.5 billion. It’s fair to say that beauty is big business in Australia. L’Oreal Australia Managing Director, Rodrigo Pizarro, was quoted in the AFR late last year, “One that’s obvious is data – everybody is looking for data so we have the right brands in the right channel in the right retailer in the right mix.

Want to know the data behind the dollars? Field Agent spoke to 500 Australian women who buy makeup to see what’s really going on behind the mirror. We talk all things beauty: makeup, brands, retailers, claims, spend, channels and more.

COMPLETE BELOW TO ACCESS YOUR FREE REPORT ⬇️

Back To School Lunchboxes

Millions of Aussie kids started the 2019 school year in the last week. While you may have seen a flurry of posts on social media by parents showing their smiling kids in school uniforms, we wanted to check in on the ‘behind the scenes’ action of the humble lunchbox.

Field Agent Australia surveyed parents of primary school aged kids (Grades 1-6) from around the country to get the low-down on school lunches, from planning through to shopping influences and everything in between.

This can be an overwhelming time for parents who are desperate to pack the ‘perfect lunchbox’ which is a mix of good nutrition, meeting school regulations and something the kids will actually eat! Here’s what we found out from 475 Aussie parents who are busy shopping for and packing school lunches in 2019.

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Christmas 2018

The countdown to Christmas is on!  Shoppers are making their lists and checking them twice.

Which retailers will they shop at?  What gifts will they buy and at what price?

Will they shop online or in-store? Is everything put on credit? Does anyone use cash anymore?

These answers and more you will find here – wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

While the logical ‘head’ drivers of affordability and product quality take out the top two reasons behind gifting, it’s delightful to see the next three most common things people think about when buying gifts are ‘emotional’, from the heart, and truly capture the spirit of Christmas.

Mass merchandisers like Kmart have done a brilliant job at aligning their product offers to these drivers, and this is highlighted earlier in the top retailers that shoppers are choosing to spend their money at this Christmas.

How’s this for motivation to fight for display space and ensure your displays are fully stocked: 

70% of grocery shoppers are influenced by displays when deciding which groceries to buy for Christmas feasting.

The best displays are dressed to impress and inspire shoppers. How is your business contributing to the theatre of retail?

Above: Images of real in-store retail displays captured by Agents

Pets Insights

2018 may be Year of the Dog according to the Chinese zodiac, but in Australia every year is year of the dog! Australia is reported to have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and of the 1,000 Australian pet owners that we surveyed, 71% of them own a dog. It is estimated that more than 60% of Australian households own a pet and most consider their pets to be part of the family. Despite this, there is not much Australian research about pet ownership and the petcare category. Here’s what we found out from 1,000 Australian pet owners.

ABOUT AUSSIE PET OWNERS

Agents were only too happy to share with us some pictures of their pets. Here are some of the faces of the pets behind the stats in this survey.

PET RETAIL

Aussie pet owners overwhelmingly still prefer bricks and mortar retailers over online retailers, with supermarkets dominating pet food retail, and rating highly among other key purchase categories.

THE PET FOOD SHOPPER

When it comes to pet food, most pet owners are not looking for the cheapest brand they can find. Almost half of pet owners ranked quality ingredients as their first or second most important factor when purchasing pet food. Only 17% of shoppers rated price as the most important factor.
Dietary requirements was another important consideration that ranked marginally more important than price and value for money, and the dietary elements that shoppers consider most when purchasing pet food continue to demonstrate the consumer behaviour of humanising pet food.

Whilst shoppers may be seeking out brands that have natural colours and flavours, no preservatives and minimal processing, the vast majority of pet owners place great trust in the high quality and safety standards for food and manufacturing in Australia, and are not aware that the pet food industry is self-regulated (80%). This may all change soon however, as we await the outcome of the Senate inquiry into regulatory approaches to ensure the safety of pet food, due to be delivered on October 16, 2018.

PAMPERED PETS

Australians do not think that their pets are overly pampered – though the scores are notably different for those who consider their pets to be ‘Animals that they care for’ (ave. rating 3.3) versus those who consider their pets to be their children, also known as ‘fur-babies’ (ave.rating 7.9). Pet owners like to express the love they have for their pets by buying them gifts, such as edible treats and toys.

FOCUS ON FUR BABIES

Insights on Alcohol Consumption in Australia: Part 2

Recently we shared our infograph of the alcohol consumption and purchase habits of 1,000 Australian drinkers. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here).
In Part 2 you will learn about:
  • Alcoholic drinks of choice across consumption occasions;
  • Adjacent consumption categories of spirit mixers and snacking;
  • Social trends impacting purchase decisions; and
  • Offline versus online behaviour.

I like to have a beer rum with Duncan

When you consider the penetration level of various alcohols and the occasions in which they are most popular, it’s easy to see that alcohol plays a huge role in Australian culture. White spirits achieved the highest level of penetration amongst drinkers, and the most popular occasions for drinking white spirits are when socialising, whether that’s at a licensed venue, at home with others or at a big event or party. Sparkling wine came a close second, with most people enjoying sparkling wine to celebrate special events such as weddings.

When it comes to domestic settings, cider has certainly made its way into the mainstream, proving a popular choice ahead of both craft and non-craft beer. 
Wine excels across many consumption occasions, particularly at home and accompanying a meal at a restaurant. Although penetration is low, rosé is a popular choice for drinking at home with others and at weddings and large events, suggesting that it is an appealing option for something a little different to white wine. Interestingly, when it comes to weddings and big events, men are more likely than women to reach for the rosè!
This macro view of alcohol consumption does not take into account the frequency or volume of consumption – nonetheless, it represents opportunities for brand growth through increasing penetration and breaking into new consumption occasions.

Getting into the Spirit

Want to know what alcohol makes it into the hearts and homes of real Australians? We asked! Check out some examples of our Agents’ home liquor stashes.

And how are Aussies drinking spirits? Mostly mixed – full sugar soft drinks are still the most popular spirit mixers, with a preference for soda water or tonic water over diet soft drinks. Cocktails are also a popular choice, particularly among Millennials (25% vs 19% Gen X). The slow drinking movement favours a serving on the rocks – and we even asked this survey in the middle of Winter!

Top Tipple Nibbles

When it comes to snacking when drinking, savoury snacks are where it’s at. Potato chips are the most popular snack of choice, with Aussies proving almost as fond of cheese platters. There are some intrinsic differences between males and females when it comes to snack choice – females prefer cheese platters (73%) over potato chips (63%), whereas males prefer potato chips (71%) over cheese platters (55%). Females also prefer antipasto platters (45%) over nuts (29%), whereas men prefer nuts (38%) over antipasto platters (32%).

Social Trends Impacting Purchase Decisions

Many liquor brands are looking to social trends to remain relevant and unlock new sources of growth. When it comes to health considerations, the top two priorities are low carb (29%) and low sugar (25%). Interestingly, our research indicates that 40.5% of drinkers do not consider any health or social responsibility factors when purchasing alcohol, and of the 59.5% that do, most consider which products are Australian made and/or owned ahead of diet and health factors.

Online Versus Offline Behaviour

In an age where online retail is challenging bricks and mortar, and print media is struggling to compete with online publications, packaged alcohol is one category that is slow to move. In Part 1 of our study we reported that 93% of packaged alcohol purchases are still made in-store. You may also be surprised to learn that more than half of alcohol drinkers check out the alcohol specials in catalogues and newspapers, highlighting the need to nail the in-store execution of planned promotions and validating that print media continues to be a valuable investment of marketing dollars.
Online consumer behaviour is a vastly different story. In the past six months only 16% of alcohol drinkers have ordered alcohol online using a click and collect option, and the uptake of delivery options are lower again with only 9% having ordered for same-day delivery and only 2% having tried an on-demand delivery service. However, when queried about the likelihood of purchasing alcohol to be delivered same-day within the next six months, 62% were open to the possibility.
For now, our data suggests that brands and retailers can get the best bang for their online-buck by curating content that inspires consumers with recipes and credible online reviews, but the bulk of resources should still be focussed on in-store execution, engagement and shopper insights.

Insights on Alcohol Consumption in Australia: Part 1

There’s no denying that Australians have an affinity for alcohol. The packaged alcohol market alone is worth an intoxicating $15.5bn according to Roy Morgan Research – which had us wondering…

  • How often are Australians drinking?
  • Are they drinking more or less?
  • What’s driving changes to consumption habits?
  • Which retailers are the most popular and why?
  • What are Australians drinking and where do they drink it?
  • What health and lifestyle factors influence choice?
  • What are the trends in mixers and snacking? 

Throughout June 2018, Field Agent surveyed 500 male and 500 female self-identified alcohol drinkers. We’ve prepared for you a cocktail of insights about Aussie alcohol consumption and expenditure habits. Check it out, then click here to read Part 2.

AMAZON.com.au – Beyond Speculation

Amazon’s arrival in Australia was one of the most hyped retail events of 2017. “Huge disruption” and a “retail revolution” was predicted but despite of all the speculation it appears to have been anything but spectacular. Our Digital Shopper survey back in March showed that 48% of Aussie online shoppers had looked but not bought anything from the Amazon Australia site, with a further 40% who either hadn’t looked at it or didn’t even know it existed. We’re already hearing of marketplace sellers making a swift exit after months of low or no sales.
Speculation continues as we await Amazon to fire up all engines whilst remaining tight-lipped about their movements. We can’t tell you what Amazon will do next, but we can tell you what Australian shoppers have to say about them. We surveyed 700 shoppers who buy from either Amazon US and/or Amazon AU sites. Here’s what we found out:

Whilst 39% of Amazon shoppers have shopped both the US and AU sites in the past 6 months, 35% have not made a purchase from the AU site. Why is that?
The main reason is that the AU site prices are not so Amaz-ing, according to 40% of shoppers. This echoes widely-held post-launch sentiment and is owing largely to the fact that the AU site only went live with listings from third party sellers on Amazon Marketplace, a reason that 6% of shoppers acknowledged. Marketplace sellers are going to need to sharpen their price points if they want to compete when Amazon actually starts listing products for sale itself.
Price is not the only reason, though. Of equal importance to shoppers has been the lack of range and not being able to find what they wanted (40%). This will no doubt improve over time as more sellers jump on board and Amazon unleashes its own range, but as we’ve seen so far this process is a slow burn.
It will be interesting to see if those 35% of shoppers who have only shopped the Amazon US site will be compelled to try the AU site when, from July 1, Amazon will stop its overseas sites from delivering to Australian addresses to dodge the minefield of complying with GST legislation. Keen shoppers will need to engage a freight forwarding service and pay the GST themselves.
Before this all unfurled, we had asked Agents how the introduction of the GST to online purchases under $1000 from overseas might impact their shopping behaviour. Only 8% had indicated that they intended to keep shopping on the US site. 14% stated they would shop elsewhere and 52% were unsure. Now that shoppers will need to use a freight forwarding service to continue to shop through Amazon US, Amazon may be disappointed if they were expecting to pump the lost volume back through the new AU site. Given the prices and range on the Australian site aren’t currently up to scratch, the short-term future for Australian retailers is looking brighter.

So what are shoppers buying from Amazon AU and how satisfied have they been with the experience?

Books and electronics continue to form the core of Amazon’s business with 52% of shoppers purchasing books and 47% of shopper purchasing electronics from the Amazon AU site so far.

At the time of this survey, fulfilment by Amazon had not yet commenced. Despite not yet being able to experience the fast, low cost delivery experience that Amazon is renowned for, most shoppers were surprisingly happy with delivery cost and speed. It is also worth noting that of those who shop the US site but haven’t yet shopped the AU site, delivery time and cost ranked very low (4% and 9%) in the list of reasons that they hadn’t shopped the AU site yet. 

How Primed are Aussies for Amazon Prime?

Now that fulfilment by Amazon has been switched on, the next big anticipated offer yet to be unveiled to Aussie shoppers is the Amazon Prime membership program.

In the US, Amazon Prime offers shoppers access to free two-day shipping (and same-day delivery in eligible postcode regions), as well as streaming video/music. Most of its 90 million subscribers (nearly half of its total user base) pay an annual subscription for the service (approx. AUD$17/month or AUD$130/yr).
We explained what Amazon Prime offers in the US to get a read from Australian shoppers on their level of interest.

Of the people who were interested or unsure of Amazon Prime, it seems that while the annual fee in the US is USD$99, the AUD$99 mark is where most Australian’s deem it wouldn’t be worth it.
Given Australian Amazon shoppers have so far been happy or undeterred by delivery times or costs, perhaps the issue is simply that they do not foresee themselves purchasing enough online with Amazon in a year to justify the cost of a Prime membership?
Making things even more interesting, Ebay recently announced Ebay Plus, a membership delivery service available from mid-June offering unlimited deliveries and returns on new items for a low annual fee of $49. Pass the popcorn!

Does Prime pose a risk to existing media subscription services?

Nearly 90% of shoppers surveyed currently have at least one media subscription. Many subscribe to multiple services, so it’s fair to say that Aussie’s would be keen to consider another subscription if the value was good and the content worthwhile.
The positive news for other subscription businesses is that even if shoppers added Amazon Prime to their subscriptions, the majority (68%) claim that they wouldn’t cancel any of their existing subscriptions.

Looking Ahead

It appears that Australian online shoppers haven’t bought into the Amazon hype and don’t anticipate mass changes to their online shopping behaviour any time soon, but don’t let this lure you into a false sense of security.

Despite the slow start, Amazon have picked an opportune time to launch in Australia. Practically every week another big-name retailer is collapsing into administration. We hope you’re riding unicorn waves of growth. If not, we trust that you have all eyes and ears on the ground to ensure that your strategies are informed by customer insight and are being executed as planned across all channels. May the odds be ever in your favour.