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.

The Real Housewives of Australia

Fact: Women are still the primary carers in Australia. While men and women averaged the same hours for paid and unpaid work overall, men spent twice as long as women in employment related activities and women spent twice as long as men in unpaid work (particularly domestic activities and child care).* Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Sept 2017.
Though she works inside the home, the stay-at-home mother is an economic force in her own right. A recent Field Agent mobile survey found 97% of modern housewives are their family’s primary grocery shopper and 95% their family’s primary home-essentials shopper.
Understanding stay-at-home mums gives you insight into the most significant demographic of retail spending.
This month, Field Agent surveyed 500 stay-at-home Australian mums to explore their shopping habits and retailer preferences. All survey participants are women with children presently living at-home. Furthermore, 86% of the those surveyed have children aged 6 and under. 63% are currently married and 14% are in a defacto relationship.

The Graphic Story: Modern Homemakers

1. Building out a job description

Field Agent asked stay-at-home mums what household duties are their sole or primary responsibility, that they do more of than any member of the family.

2. Grocery and Cleaning: The Key Categories

With Grocery and Household Essentials shopping accounting for the majority of primary duties of the modern homemaker, it made sense to dig deeper on the habits and preferences of these two categories.
69% of Australian families spend between $400-$800 every month on their grocery shopping.
The battle between the two major supermarkets, Coles & Woolworths, is evident with 45% choosing Woolworths and 43% choosing Coles. ALDI is yet to take a large slice of market share.
Of the 55% who said they would purchase a new product if it were on sale, just over half mentioned they would tell someone else about that product.

More shoppers (45%) are purchasing grocery product private label brands ‘often’ compared with 27% in the cleaning category.

3. Baby and Pet Supplies

Human and “fur” babies alike are high up on the priority shopping list for the modern Australian homemaker.
At a time when the broader retail market is struggling with lacklustre growth and a slowdown in consumer spending is pinching profits, the baby and infant industry has been enjoying a boom.
For the past few years baby care has consistently outperformed the wider retail market, and while experts argue about the exact value of this sector, it is estimated to be worth more than $8 billion in Australia alone.

Not to be undermined, the Australian pet-care sector superseeds the marketshare of the baby care sector. Australians are spending $12 billion a year on food, grooming, vets and insurance for their animals, making the pet care industry one of the major growth hot spots of the country’s business sector.
There are an estimated eight million pet owners, primarily of cats and dogs, which means Australia has one of the highest domestic animal ownership rates in the world. And the Aussie homemakers are the people making the majority of the retail decisions regarding pet care products.

 

4. New Products

Word of mouth is strong even in the grocery game. 57% of people who have purchased and tried a new grocery item  have told someone about it, compared to just 23% who don’t mention it to anyone.
Here is what some of our Agents had to say about new grocery items they have tried recently:

5. Garden and Auto Supplies

With homemakers bearing less responsibility for garden and automotive supplies compared to other categories, it’s not surprising that the frequency of purchase from these is much lower.

 

The Most Powerful Packaging Claims in 8 Product Categories

On average, more than half of shoppers (51%) say package label claims are either extremely or very important to their product purchases.

Nearly 4 in 10 shoppers say they would switch to a new brand from a current preferred brand in favour of increased product transparency. In fact, 73% of them would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency, according to a recent survey by Label Insight. The demand for transparency is clear, yet two of the most challenging categories in which to find information are those in which we come in contact the most – packaged food and personal care products.
Shopper demand for transparency has prompted the need for brands to create a standardised method for sharing product information in a convenient, easy-to-understand manner. New technologies such as Smart Label in the US are taking the influence of packaging claims very seriously.
This new tech offers a smartphone scan-at-shelf function which then reveals just about everything there is to know about the product such as allergy information, corporate ethics and sustainability programs, in addition to detailed nutritional and ingredient information. The Smart Label initiative is growing exponentially with a projected 34,000 products to be participating by the end of 2017.
With more and more people caring about the finer details about the food and products they purchase for their households, packaging labels can make an enormous impact on the shopper.
But which product claims, specifically, have most sway over shoppers and their spending?

The Most Powerful Package Label Claims

Field Agent Australia surveyed 500 Australians on its all-mobile panel to identify the most influential label claims across eight product categories: packaged foodsnon-alcoholic beverageshair care products, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, pet food, dairy products, home cleaning products & cosmetics.
Each of these categories are renowned for making bold product claims in their packaging. So, what on-package claims really engage shoppers and influence which product they pick up from the shelf.
The infographic below details the top five label claims across eight key categories:

 

Thus, depending on the product, the “magic words” may well be Made in Australia (packaged foods, non-alcoholic beverages), Real Fruit Juice (non-alcoholic beverages), Quick Relief (OTC medication), Moisturising (hair care), Real Meat (pet food), Kills Bacteria (home cleaning products), Full Cream (dairy products) and Sensitive Skin (cosmetics), or a variation of these words.
For many shoppers, such claims do have power over purchase decisions. In fact, when asked, 37% of said it had a direct impact in their final purchase decisions, some examples of this include:
“Free range eggs. I purchased this product as I believe the hens are allowed to roam and aren’t restricted and no chemicals are used when I purchase this product.” Female, 50, VIC
“Real fruit juice was the product and the claim was that the juice was made of “just 20 apples” Male, 19, NSW
“Panadol Rapid – I purchased this product because it claims that it is fast acting on pain relief.” Female, 35, VIC
“Low carb wraps and bread as I only eat those items if they are lower in carbs. Also ‘Fast Acting’ basic pain relief medication.”  Male, 22. ACT
“I was buying body lotion and chose one due to the scent, but the label claims of all natural product on the other bottle swayed my purchasing decision.” Female, 28, QLD
However claims can have the opposite effect if not meeting the expectations of the shopper. 27% of those surveyed told us how packaging claims actually discouraged their purchase decision.
“Low fat, low sugar, all those things just make me think there’s more bad stuff in there to compensate. I’d rather eat fat and sugar than eat something unidentifiable. Also more cautious around ‘RSPCA Approved’ now and the labelling on eggs and meat – I eat organic where possible to make sure as best I can.” Female, 28, NSW
“Pain relief medication claimed to target a specific area of the body, which I knew was untrue.” Male, 29, WA
“Pineapple in a can. Turns out it was from Thailand not Australia.” Male, 29, VIC
“I decided not to buy Cadbury chocolate because the packaging claimed the product was Halal. I even rang the customer service phone number and no one could tell me what ingredients required Halal certification.” Female, 52, VIC
Asked to rank the product categories by the relative power of their label claims, shoppers rated the claims of pet food products, packaged foods, home-cleaning products and OTC medications as comparatively more influential over their spending than those found on hair care products, dairy products, cosmetics, and non-alcoholic beverages.
There is still a big opportunity to influence a shopper with packaging claims at the point of purchase to try your product. Let Field Agent help you decide what should go on your next packaging design to get maximum cut through at the shelf.

Healthy Living Report 2017 [Part 2]

We present you with Part 2 of our Healthy Living Report where we uncover further insights into the retail of physical wellness, with responses from 500 Australians regarding their health & fitness plans for 2017.


Vitamin, Mineral & Supplement Purchases

Men and women appear to have similar approaches to taking multivitamins for general health and wellness. However, we start to see some gender differences in the choices of other supplemental products. Men tend to be more inclined to purchase supplements that support muscle building and condition, while women are focused on internal health and well-being. One of the biggest variations is with protein powders, with 34% men and only 20% of women citing they will incorporate this product to their regime. In contrast, more women mentioned they would take probiotics, with 29% versus 18% (males). Probiotics are associated with assisting overall gut health which is a very popular health focus for 2017.


Stylishly Active – Insights on Sportswear

Is activewear also passivewear? 56% of women and 45% of men said they only wear fitness apparel specifically for fitness activities 10% of the time!
The rest of the time they are wearing their activewear for comfort, convenience and appearance. This is not surprising with fashion designers blurring the lines between fashion and activewear for some of the global active brands.  When we talk about the term ‘activewear’ we are also referring to wearable tech such as Garmin, FitBit and Leaf Urban. Some of the top reasons why wearable tech is so attractive is to simply know more about their day-to-day activities, to stay on track with health & performance or to hold themselves accountable. Overall, activewear has never looked so good!


Retailers Get Digitally Fit

The modern problem of being time-poor and not wanting to waste time in-stores is remedied by retailers offering quality omni-channel experiences.
Webrooming (researching online and purchase in-store) is gaining in popularity with 48% stating it’s their preferred shopping method, perhaps with many doing their research whilst relaxing after-hours. Online reviews are also very popular, with 45% influenced by an online review in their decision making process.
With such a considerable percentage of consumers doing their research and/or shopping online, it is absolutely essential to ensure a seamless and informative experience across all touchpoints, digital or physical.


Go-To Retailers

Whilst many brands were mentioned as retailers they would visit to purchase health & fitness products, the top three that ranked the highest for both men and women is Kmart, Chemist Warehouse and Rebel Sport. Rebel Sport is seen as the market leader in all things health & fitness related, whilst the accessibility and affordability of Kmart and Chemist Warehouse is what set these retailers apart from the rest.


Lean & Mean Fitness Purchases

2 in 3 women will purchase new activewear/workout clothes to enhance (or encourage) their physical activities in 2017, with the same number of men planning to purchase new footwear specific for their pursuits.
When asked their opinion of the statement, “To get in shape you have to spend money,” 58% agreed, 15% didn’t have an opinion and 38% disagreed that you need to spend money to get in shape.
Whatever your opinion, there is no denying the retail influence of health & fitness-related consumables.


Back To School Shopping [Report]

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As the holiday season winds down, post-Christmas sales are in full swing with research, conducted by Roy Morgan in association with Australian Retailers Association (ARA), predicting that Aussie shoppers will spend $17.2 billion from 26 December to 15 January.

According to the ARA chief Russell Zimmerman, the research is indicative of shopper focus on back to school sales.
Zimmerman says that retailers selling clothing, footwear, stationery and technology will see a big sales boost as back to school draws near and parents stock up on back to school essentials.
Field Agent wanted to understand the back-to-school mindset a little deeper, so we surveyed 400 Australian parents with school aged children on all things ‘Back To School’ (BTS).
Let this research help your brand/s make the grade with Back To School shoppers in 2017.

Back To School Budget Pressure

Our study of 400 households suggests most families are anticipating spending more (44%) or about the same (35%) on back-to-school in 2017. Only 9% will spend less.
The whopping 78% of parents surveyed agreed BTS is a strain on their household budgets.

Stocking up for Back To School

Predictably, uniforms (83%), basic school supplies (82%), and footwear (91%) top the list of general BTS merchandise purchases. However, half (or more) of all households surveyed said they’re planning on making purchases in all nine categories presented, suggesting BTS has important implications for brands across many categories. Some, including athletic equipment, electronic, are more vulnerable to the influence of age (i.e., grade-level) than others.

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Influences on Back To School

Make the list = make the sale

Many households follow a school-furnished list either “very closely” (35%) or “fairly closely” (33%) when shopping for BTS supplies. In all, 93% will follow their school’s list at least a little. Specific brand name mentions have some influence over shoppers’ choices, with 38% calling them moderately influential and 34% calling them “extremely” or “very” influential.

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How Brands Can Make The Grade

Top Shopping Priorities Amongst BTS Mums 

What really matters when shopping inside stores for BTS supplies? 76% made Quality a #1 or #2 priority and Price was also #1 or #2 priority for 76% of shoppers. Factors such as brand name or loyalty ranked the lowest priority at 65% and 66% respectively.

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Kids Call The Shots

Influence of children on BTS purchases

“But MUM!” You can hear the kids’ cries already. To what extent do the users of BTS purchases, the kids, influence the shoppers (mums and dads)? Kids wield considerable influence it seems over clothing/footwear and even the contents of packed lunches.

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Back To School Shopping Destinations

Preferred retailers for BTS Supplies

At 70%, Kmart sits high atop the retail mountain for selling school supplies, with Officeworks (62%) and Big W (52%) not far behind. On the question of who sells the most back-to-school clothing, aside from specialised uniform shops which take the biggest slice of the pie at 71%, 41% are getting their school clothing basics from Kmart and Target is a close second choice (38%). Of course, BTS is a big pie and many retailers enjoy a slice. 62% told us they will visit 2-3 stores to purchase school supplies.

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Role of Online Retailers for BTS Shoppers

Households do shop online for BTS supplies; they just don’t shop online a great deal with 38% not looking online at all. 62% say they are likely to purchase some school supplies from the Internet. As for the threads, 62% surveyed say they “not at all likely” to purchase BTS clothing and footwear online, and only 20% saying they are either “completely, very or moderately likely” to purchase clothing or footwear online. It seems most want their children to be able to try on clothing and footwear for the best fit prior to the school year.

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Inside That Brown Bag

Content Of Packed Lunches

Here’s an important question for food and beverage companies: What’s in the packed lunch? The focus on a healthy packed lunch is emphasised throughout most Australian schools, so it’s encouraging to see fruit, water and sandwiches as the most popular lunch box options, with a much smaller percentage of households including non-nutritious snacks such as soft drinks and lollies. For more than half of household surveyed (52%), shopping for packed lunch contents is a weekly affair, while 40% visit stores two or more times a week to supply their kids’ packed lunches.

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Snack Attack

Sometimes, the lunchbox contents fall short, or maybe the household ran out of time to pack an adequate lunch for the children. For those quick before and after-school meals, more than half listed Coles (26%) and Woolworths (25%) as the best quick option to hit the spot. McDonalds (10%) was slightly more popular than ALDI (7%).

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Frustrations with BTS shopping

Navigating the shops with a long list can be frustrating enough, but add to that the combination of not finding what you need, high prices or crowds and you have a recipe for annoyed shoppers. A whopping 53% said that out-of-stock products are one of the most frustrating parts of BTS shopping.

What Kids Have To Say

While most kids are excited and looking forward to starting or returning to school, there are also still nerves for some.


School The Competition This Year

Which brands will win Back To School 2017? Simple. Those that prepare and execute the best.
Mobile Audits & Research combine to offer companies a fast, affordable and simple way to learn about back-to-school shoppers and ensure BTS plans are properly executed inside stores.
So make the grade this back-to-school shopping season. Look to Mobile Audits & Research.

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Christmas Holiday Report – Part 2: Christmas Shopping The Australian Way

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As Christmas fast approaches, Field Agent set out to further understand how Aussie’s tackle their Christmas shopping. We present you with Part 2 of our Christmas Holiday Report, offering 9 pivotal insights into the attitudes and behaviours of 500 Australian Christmas shoppers with children in their households.

1. Which of the following are particularly important to you as you shop for and buy Christmas gifts?

When asked what are the most important factors to consider when Christmas shopping, it seems we are a budget savvy-bunch. Women are more likely to state that affordability /low cost is more important than males (82% vs 74% respectively). Women are also more likely to give ‘sentimentality’ as an important reason to buy Christmas gifts (46% female vs 36% male).

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2. When purchasing Christmas gifts this year, which 3 retailers will receive most of your business?

When purchasing Christmas gifts, it appears that the large discount department stores are likely to get most of the shoppers spend. Women are likely to shop at Kmart and Target compared to men. Aussie men are more likely to spend their Christmas budget at JB Hi-Fi, Toys R Us, Bunnings and Rebel Sport.

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3. Compared to last year, do you expect to spend more or less on gifts, decorations, toys, electronics and groceries?

Despite the uncertainty in the economy, Australian’s are still happy to spend up at Christmas time with over half of shoppers saying that they intend to spend a little more or a lot more than in 2015. Gifts in general are on the increase with 60% of people saying they will spend more. Other items including groceries (50%), toys (45%), electronics (43%) and decorations (35%) are all forecasted as a higher expenditure than in 2015.

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4. How likely are you to shop online for gifts this Christmas season?

The convenience of online shopping is stronger than ever, with nearly two thirds of shoppers citing they are ‘extremely/very likely’ to buy gifts online this Christmas. Men (64%) are more likely than women (50%) stating they are ‘extremely/very likely’ to purchase Christmas gifts online. Only 1% responded that they are ‘not at all likely’ to shop online this Christmas. The popularity of ‘web-rooming’ (when consumers research products online, then come into a physical store to buy them) and ‘show-rooming’ (the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store or other offline setting, and then buying it online, sometimes at a lower price) is on the increase. With this in mind, it’s even more important for retailers to offer an omni-channel shopping experience to ensure they capitalise on all forms of shopping.

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5. Looking ahead, which of the following gifts are your children likely to receive for Christmas this year?

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6. How much do you expect to spend PER CHILD (in dollars) on Christmas gifts THIS holiday season?

The average spend per child for Christmas is expected to be about $290; with approximately a third of shoppers saying that they plan to spend between $201 – $500 per child.

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7. How much approximately do you expect to spend on your spouse/partner (in dollars) for Christmas gifts this season?

The average spend on a spouse/partner is $268. Men are likely to spend $100 more on their female spouse than women are on their male spouse. Perhaps this due to the ritual of men traditionally leaving their Christmas shopping to the last minute and not taking the time to shop around for the best deal (or maybe they are happy to splurge on their female spouse and indulge their expensive requests!).

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8. When shopping for groceries to enhance your Christmas celebrations, how much influence do in-store product displays have over your purchase decisions?

With a massive 77% of shoppers stating that they are either ‘moderately influenced, very influenced or extremely influenced’ on grocery displays at Christmas time, it shows the importance of having a strong merchandising strategy. An important ingredient in retail display execution is measuring compliance. Are your products ticketed as they should be? Are they fully stocked? Field Agent truly are your eyes and ears in peak promotional periods to ensure you’re capitalising on the strong retail trade. Less than 1 in 10 feel that in-store product displays will be extremely influential in their product decision.

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9. How likely are you to purchase at least one Christmas gift for your PET this Christmas?

Pets play such an important role in Australian families, that it only seems appropriate that they too, receive a special something to mark the season of giving.

Of those shoppers that own a pet, a whopping 75% will purchase at least one gift for their pet at Christmas. Only 1 in 10 shoppers said that they were not at all likely to purchase a gift for their pet.
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We encourage you to share this report with your team and your colleagues. As always, if you have any questions or want to talk further about how Field Agent can help you better understand your business, drop us us an email.

Did you download our Big Honking Tree Topping Guide to Christmas Shoppers 2016? It’s not too late.

Make it a Christmas season to remember and download the report now. 

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Christmas Holiday Report – International Study: Part 1

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SPECIAL REPORT

The BIG Guide to Christmas Shoppers 2016

Companies far and wide are already feverishly preparing for Christmas shoppers.

Field Agent is proud to present an essential, one-of-a-kind resource to help brands and retailers prepare for the 2016 Christmas shopping season.

Based on surveys with almost 3,000 shoppers across seven countries, Field Agent’s Big Honkin’, Tree Toppin’, Globe Trottin’ GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS SHOPPERS 2016 is packed with pivotal insights into the attitudes and behaviors of holiday shoppers around the world.

This free report, Field Agent’s largest to date, explores a variety of topics, including:

  • Top retail destinations for Christmas gifts, groceries, and online purchases
  • Most common gift wishes among men and women, boys and girls
  • Product categories poised for a strong Christmas season
  • Roles of online shopping and digital, omnichannel services in Christmas shopping

The report casts a wide net, offering timely insights into multiple product categories:

  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Batteries
  • Salty Snacks
  • Clothing & Fragrances
  • Fast Food
  • Pet Supplies
  • Entertainment

As a bonus, the Guide to Christmas Shoppers 2016 includes The Brand Manager’s Guide to Q4 Retail Execution, which describes concrete solutions to six in-store challenges faced by many FMCG companies.

Make it a Christmas season to remember. Download the guide today.

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What Do Women Want? 500 Australian Women Talk Beauty & Cosmetics

What Women Want

French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent once said, “The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” Year-by-year, women around the world testify to Saint-Laurent’s words…with their spending more.

Case-in-point: InStyle magazine reported that the average woman will spend $15,000 on beauty products over the course of her lifetime, including:

  • Mascara – $3,770
  • Eye shadow – $2,750
  • Lipstick – $1,780

Clearly, beauty products in general, and cosmetics in particular, account for a sizable chunk of consumer spending. Beauty, it appears, costs (and makes) money.

What are the Makeup Preferences & Behaviours of Women? Field Agent recently conducted a survey of 500 women across the country. Our purpose was to understand how women shop for and use beauty products, especially cosmetics.

Below we answer 8 pressing questions to help beauty brands better serve female shoppers.

  1. Where do you purchase most of your cosmetics / facial skin care…and why?

Large pharmacy retailers, including Priceline and Chemist Warehouse, dominated the competition with 43% of 500 female respondents saying they purchase most of their beauty products from pharmacies. Department stores, such as, Myer and Target took out second place with 15% taking their shopping to the retail giants. Following closely behind in third place are specialty retailers, including Mecca and Sephora, with 11% of respondents turning to the category experts for their beauty shopping.

graph-q3But why? Women said that their preference to shop in pharmacies is due to competitive prices, regular discounts and sales, reputable brands, available testers, and great advice.

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2. And what about specific retailers? Who’s winning women?

 To answer this question we asked, “Which retailers do you purchase beauty products from?” They were allowed to choose multiple options. Please note that this question asks about beauty products in general, not cosmetics specifically.

A staggering 72% of women cited Priceline as their main retailer for beauty products , followed closely by Chemist Warehouse (60%). Major department stores and supermarkets are also a popular choice for beauty shopping including Myer (43%) , Coles (41%), Woolworths (38%), Kmart (35%), Target (34%) and Big W (32%). Departments stores and supermarket shoppers state the convenience of shopping for beauty products whilst doing other essential shopping, trumps. In addition, the brand names available are generally well known at an affordable price point.

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3. Why aren’t online retailers performing better among women?

Field Agent specifically asked women, who weren’t enthusiastic about shopping for cosmetics online, what barriers prevent them from purchasing more of their makeup and facial skin care from online retailers.

We presented them with eight potential reasons why online shopping may not be ideal for purchasing cosmetics. More than half (62%) said they need to be able to match their skin tone (or other cosmetic shades) when buying makeup and 52% stated they prefer to see/touch the product before buying it. A third significant barrier is the added cost of shipping, with 44% of respondents stating that it can make the product more expensive than when shopping at a bricks and mortar store.

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4. What label claims do women really look for when purchasing cosmetics?

Few products are as full of marketing messages as beauty product packaging. But which label claims truly resonate with female shoppers? We presented our sample with 25 common makeup label claims—from “all natural” to “anti-aging” to “hypoallergenic.” Over half (56%) of the respondents mentioned sunscreen/SPF as an important ingredient in their decision making, closely followed by No Animal Testing, with 49% choosing to ensure their products are cruelty free. See the graph for results on other label claims.

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5. Which cosmetic brands are winning the affections of women?

We pitted 25 popular makeup brands in a head-to-head competition by asking women, “Which brands of cosmetics do you use?” Here are 10 of the brands which came out on top:

  1. Maybelline (65%)
  2. Revlon (52%)
  3. L’Oreal (49%)
  4. Rimmel (39%)
  5. MAC (36%)
  6. Cover Girl (31%)
  7. Max Factor (31%)
  8. OPI (30%)
  9. Clinique (28%)
  10. Sally Hansen (26%)

Interestingly, two of the top-ten brands specialise in nail/hand products (OPI & Sally Hansen) suggesting that Australian women prioritise hand care just as much as facial products. Of the remaining eight of the top-ten, only two brands are considered to be ‘luxury’ brands (MAC & Clinique). The remaining six of the top-ten brands are ‘pharmacy’ brands, which supports the earlier statistic of 72% of women choosing to shop for skincare & cosmetics at Priceline due to their range of quality, reputable brands, affordable prices and good range

6. What matters most to women shopping for cosmetics?

Now we get into the critical value-driven questions. Where 1 was most important and 5 least important, we asked women to rank five potential priorities when shopping for cosmetics. Quality and Price/Value distinguished themselves as the most important priorities among women. In all, 27% of women ranked Quality as a #1 priority, while 26% ranked Price/Value as #1 priority.

Here is the full listing by percentage of #1 & #2 responses:

  1. Quality (56%)
  2. Price/Value (51%)
  3. Colour (to match skin tone, wardrobe, season, etc – 45%)
  4. Brand (26%)
  5. Specific Label Claims (ie, organic, hypoallergenic, SPF, cruelty free, etc – 24%)
  6. Name (1%) 

7. Why do women shop for, buy, and wear cosmetics?

Women buy and wear makeup, primarily to feel good about themselves. We asked them to rank potential reasons for wearing cosmetics on the same 1-5 scale used for the previous question. Resoundingly, respondents put “feeling good about myself” at the top of the list. Here are the reasons presented as a percentage of women who chose the subsequent reason as their #1.

  1. Feeling good about myself (53%)
  2. Presenting a polished/professional image (22%)
  3. Covering up defects or times I feel/look poorly (19%)
  4. Being attractive to others (4%)
  5. Out of obligation (2%)    

It’s encouraging to see that only 4% of respondents cited ‘to be more attractive to others’ as their primary reason for wearing cosmetics, perhaps showing the generational shift in body image. That is, it is more important to place emphasis on how one feels about themselves, rather than how one looks to others. 77% of women ranked the ‘wearing cosmetics out of obligation’ as ‘least important.’

8. What role does brand loyalty play in cosmetic purchases?

It all depends on the makeup category. For example, exactly half (50%) said they are loyal to a specific brand of foundation, while only 13% said they are loyal to a particular brand of eye shadow. The graph shows loyalty measures on other makeup categories.

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Field Agent is the leader in mobile research and on-location audits. Through mobile technology, we allow companies to be with their customers…wherever they are. For this survey we asked 500 women to take pictures of the inside of their makeup drawers, as the sample photos below illustrate.

sample-agent-photos-of-makeupWhether you’re in need of shopper/consumer ‘in-the-moment’ insights, display audits, price checks, mystery shops, shopalongs, or a wide range of other compliance and research or competitor intelligence, we’ve got you covered.

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Alcohol Drinkers in Australia – Part Two: 8 Interesting Facts

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Earlier this month we shared our infograph with 100 points of interest into the Alcoholic Beverage Preferences and Behavior of Australian adults

Today, we share a further 8 fascinating facts from this study.

We also demonstrate how Field Agent serves the beer, wine, and spirits industries with location-specific information and insights. As the images depict, Agents were dispatched to restaurants, bars, stores, and homes to capture photos of everything from in-store beer displays to in-home liquor cabinets.

  1. Full strength beer tops the drink menu

We presented respondents almost 20 different alcoholic beverages—from craft beer to brandy, champagne to wine (no mixed drinks were included). Agents were asked to identify every drink in which they at least occasionally partake. At 64%, full strength beer accrued the most responses, while the following also received favour from at least a third: red wine (58%), cider (58%), white wine (55%), vodka (54%), champagne (43%), whiskey (43%), craft beer (37%) and rum (31%). 

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  1. The most common “alcoholic” beverages aren’t actually alcoholic

In addition to the alcoholic beverages above, respondents were also given the opportunity to select “non-alcoholic ingredients for making alcoholic beverages” they use at least occasionally.

Surprisingly, three non-alcoholic beverages—soft drink (Eg, Coke, Sprite) (73%), soda/mineral/tonic water (62%), and fruit juice (58%)—actually bested beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Coffee (56%) also made a strong showing. Accordingly, a company doesn’t have to be in the alcohol industry play an important role within the alcoholic beverages industry.

  1. Men go for beer; women reach for wine

In our survey, an overwhelming amount of men made full strength beer (81%) their alcoholic beverage of choice. Following in second place was red wine (60%). Among women, however, white wine (68%) and cider (62%) were most prevalent.

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  1. Aussies LOVE to party!

One objective of our survey was to understand when people drink beer, wine, and spirits.

We presented respondents with numerous possible drinking occasions – or times when they might enjoy a drink or two. The choices included sporting events, concerts, camping, air travel, holidays, and many other occasions (24 total). Respondents were asked to identify all the events when they normally have one or more alcoholic beverages.

At the top of the list, 83% said they usually enjoy at least one drink whilst at a birthday party, either their own or someone else’s. Following closely as popular occasions to fill the glass, was weddings (79%), dinner at a restaurant (79%), BBQs (78%) and holidays (71%).

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  1. Top holidays for a drink: New Year’s Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve

Australians love a public holiday. Our favourite times to indulge in a festive tipple include  New Year’s Eve (86%), Christmas Day (83%), Christmas Eve (62%), Australia Day (60%), and Boxing Day (53%). Well, if Santa gets a beer….!

  1. Supermarket bottle shops are the premier retail channel for alcohol purchases

Where do shoppers go for their beer, wine, and spirits?

At 88%, supermarket retailers such as Coles Liquor, Woolworths Liquor, Aldi Liquor and IGA Liquor amassed the most responses. Perhaps this is because of the convenience of being able to do grocery shopping at the same time as picking up a couple of drinks for the week ahead. Convenience will always trump for most Aussie shoppers.

  1. Party attendance is an important influence on alcohol consumption (and so is being married!)

The survey asked respondents whether they’re drinking more, less, or about the same as they were five years ago. Results were fairly split, with 30% drinking more, 36% drinking less, and 34% drinking about the same.

We followed up this question by asking consumers why their consumption levels have changed—that is, why they’re drinking more or less. In both cases, the top responses were fairly general. “I’m getting older” (44%) was the top reason claimed by those drinking less.

“I just enjoy it more” (60%) was #1 among those drinking more.

But it was interesting to note the role of party attendance on consumption levels. “I attend fewer parties” (43%) was the second highest reason for drinking less, and “I attend more parties” (43%) was the second highest reason for drinking more.

Amusingly, 15% of males mentioned that they drink less since getting married, whilst only 4% of women cite marriage as a reason for drinking less!

  1. Point-of-purchase has power to influence alcohol purchases

The survey also explored several “trigger events” that cause consumers to at least occasionally purchase alcoholic beverages.

It appears that in-store sales and discounts (71%) often serve as the influence for alcohol purchases. Public holidays are also a popular reason for alcohol purchasing with 41% citing this as their trigger.

Shopper marketing may also hold significant sway over the spending of many drinkers. For instance, 29% identified ‘in-store signage & displays,’ and an equivalent influence from ‘in-store sampling and demos’ as important trigger events for their alcohol purchases. Compare this to the 24% assigned to advertisements and commercials on television, radio, print and social media. What these figures do not take into account is the overall influence of a comprehensive marketing mix whereby all or a combination of these factors work synergistically as an influence to purchase.

Instant Visibility. Anywhere, Anytime.

As demonstrated above, Research and Mobile Audits get companies closer to distant business operations and customers.

Whether you need instant visibility inside stores, homes, restaurants, or some other location, we have 50,000 Australian Agents standing by right now, ready at a minute’s notice to be your ‘eyes and ears.’

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