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$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.
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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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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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
From cheap versions of products that were perceived to be poor quality and embarrassing to be seen with, to award winning products with serious creds, private label brands have come a long way in the past 5-10 years. But just how far have they come in the hearts and minds of the Australian shopper?
Field Agent asked 500 shoppers how their attitudes to private label brands have changed over the past 5-10 years. A resounding 51% said that they liked private label brands more than they used to, with a further 31% reporting that they have always liked them.
So where and when does that translate to shoppers picking up a private label over a brand name and vice versa? Let’s delve deeper into the current state of play from the mouths of everyday Australians and find out what the opportunities are for brands.
Private label is making serious inroads in the shopping trolley
We asked shoppers to estimate how much of their average grocery shop consisted of private label brands, and over a third estimated up to 25%, with another third estimating between 26% and 50% to be private label brands.
Whilst this may sound disheartening for brands, the ‘glass is half full’ way to read this, is that there’s still more than half a trolley to nab in almost 70% of trolleys and baskets!
Interestingly, almost 4 in 5 shoppers (86%) stated that they would continue to purchase the same amount of private label brands even if their household income increased.
What’s driving private label purchases?
Shoppers want their hard-earned dollars to go as far as possible with the savings offered by private label brands, without compromising on quality, most important.
Out of stocks can be disastrous for brands, who risk a shopper picking up a private label instead and deciding that the quality is comparable or at least justifies the savings, potentially losing a customer for life.
From zero to hero
Only 28% of shoppers still consider private label products to generally be inferior to branded products. A whopping 72% of shoppers now consider private label products to be of comparable quality or even better than their branded counterparts.
Certainly the quality and design of packaging has improved, and the expansion into premium brand extensions goes a long way to improve quality perceptions of private label products overall. Just take a look at the example below. A humble tin of peeled tomatoes, presented differently by lower tier private label (Franklins, Black & Gold, Coles Smart Buy, Woolworths Essentials), a more upmarket version of a private label (ALDI’s Remano, Coles, Woolworths Select), and finally, known FMCG brands (Ardmona, Val Verde).
Isn’t marketing a magnificent beast? ALDI’s positioning of their brands as ‘ALDI exclusives’ even has some shoppers believing that they are not actually buying private label products.
Woolworths is capitalising on this trend in a number of key value categories where shoppers traditionally shirk private label. Since July 2016, Woolworths shoppers with keen eyes will have noticed some brands, like the Balnea range of bodycare products, are “Specifically developed and produced for Woolworths”.
It can’t all be marketing, though. Recently a $6.99 bottle of Shiraz from ALDI made headlines after winning a double gold medal at the 2017 Melbourne International Wine Competition, and a Woolworths Half Leg of Ham took out the title of Best Nationally available Ham at the 2017 PorkMark Awards.
Winning categories for private label products
Grocery staples top the list of products that shoppers are most likely to reach for a private label. Dollar a litre milk has not been without controversy but it appears that the movement for supporting Farmers through boycotting private label milks has been short-lived.
So where do branded products win?
Australian shoppers are reluctant to compromise on little luxuries like cosmetics, hair care and their morning cuppa. A special mention goes to the pet products category in 6th position with 42% never or rarely purchasing private label for their fur-babies versus 32% for their human babies – talk about pampered pets!
Shoppers are happy to trade-up to a brand name if the price variation is deemed to be insignificant, or if the product delivers on superior quality and wider ranges.
With the improved perception of private label brands being synonymous with quality and better value, now more than ever it’s important for brands to understand and listen to their shoppers and know what drives their decision making. Eroding margins and endless promotional cycles are not sustainable. What gives your brand the edge on private label products in your category? Is your planned innovation likely to hit the mark? Find out with Field Agent.
Aussie’s were predicted to spend a fortune on our festive feasts this season — so what was actually served up on the table on Christmas Day?
According to the Australian Retailers Association, $20 billion was expected for grocery items this Christmas and supermarket sales were expected to beat last year’s figures by 3.27%, with foot traffic increasing 7.5% week-on-week across physical grocery stores.
More than 900,000 punnets of cherries, 2 million kilos of fresh Australian prawns, over 80,000kg of turkeys, six million fruit mince pies, half a million pavlovas and more than 1.7 million mangoes are also expected to be sold at Woolworths stores before Christmas Day. And that’s just one retailer!
We could go on and on with the stats, but we decided to put our nose to the ground (or to the dining tables…) and find out where they shopped and what was on the menu at Australian Christmas celebrations directly from the source, our Agents.
Take a look.
And here’s what Christmas lunch and dinner REALLY looked like…
Need additional insights to make sense of the holiday shopping season? Get in touch with our team today.