Business and Retailing News….Consumers Rely on Signage Over Other Ad Media

Newswise — Businesses looking for a sign on how to prosper in a down economy need look no further than their own indoor and outdoor signage.

That’s because University of Cincinnati analysis of a market research survey of more than 100,000 North American households found that shoppers are drawn into stores and make important quality inferences on the basis of signs.

In fact, one of the surprising finds of the UC research performed in collaboration with BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study™ is just how highly ranked signage is among forms of communication used to provide new product information.

When consumers were asked to rate the perceived usefulness of various media, only television was ranked more highly than signage as the most useful source of new product information.

According to UC researcher James J. Kellaris, “Although television was rated as the most useful source of new-product information, indoor signage (such as those at point-of sale, e.g., signage at the ends of store aisles or at check outs) tied with magazine ads as the second most useful source. And outdoor signage ranked third, followed by radio ads, Internet ads and finally, newspaper ads.”

He added, “So, what we found was that signage, a basic form of technology and communication that evolved in antiquity still works even in today’s Internet age.”

Kellaris will present his findings at the National Signage Research and Education Conference held Oct. 12-13 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a city that serves as a premier global hub for the marketing industry. Kellaris holds the James S. Womack/Gemini Corporation Chair of Signage and Visual Marketing in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at UC.

MORE FINDINGS: SMALL SIGNS A PROBLEM FOR SHOPPERS
The survey also explored an important visual acuity issue: driving by and failing to find a business because its signage was too small or unclear.

“This appears to be a major problem,” said Kellaris. “Nearly 50 percent of American consumers report that this has happened to them.”

Although the problem is universal across genders and regions, it varies across age groups.
Surprisingly, this is not a “senior citizen” phenomenon, as both younger and older age groups report more signage communication failure than the middle (35-49, 50-64) age groups.

“What we see is a U-shaped distribution with the younger shoppers being just as affected as boomers and seniors. Surprisingly, 64 percent of women aged 18 to 24 report having driven by and failed to find a business due to small, unclear signage.”

BACKGROUND ON THE SURVEY
The BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study™ is performed annually by leading independent market research firm BrandSpark International in conjunction with the Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product Awards program. The sample for this survey includes over 100,000 North American households, with approximately 63 percent being U.S. consumers ages 18 to 65+.

“The survey provides a goldmine of data,” said Kellaris. “Our ongoing partnership with BrandSpark allows marketing faculty with varying interests to explore the database to uncover consumer insights relevant to many business areas, including the signage industry.”

The most recent survey included several items of interest to those in the signage business, including some critical issues—such as the economic value of signage.

For researchers like Kellaris, the importance of the collaboration with BrandSpark and Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product Awards program lies in the ability to track these initial findings with a massive sampling year after year.

“With an annual survey, one can tweak or add new questions. We can also spot trends, track changes over time,” said Kellaris. “We can even assess the impact of regulatory changes within geographic areas as sign codes are updated. This has implications for businesses and communities.”

Released: 10/10/2011

Source: University of Cincinnati

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/consumers-rely-on-signage-over-other-ad-media

Price Too High? Budget Tight? Negotiate for a Better Deal!

Newswise — Winston-Salem N.C. — According to the Federal Reserve, economic growth remains slow and signs point to continuing weakness. Unemployment rates remain elevated, and household spending has been increasing at only a modest pace. While this may affect your household budgeting, it could also work in your favor. Charles Lankau, a business professor and expert in negotiation at Wake Forest University, says in this economy, consumers should be assertive when shopping for just about everything.

These days retailers and service providers are willing to negotiate to get your business, says Lankau. “As a consumer in today’s economy, people need to ask themselves, ‘Am I about to spend some money?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ negotiating is almost always appropriate. Price, terms, perks or extras—most of the time they are there if you just ask.”

For those new to bargaining, Lankau offers the following tips:

Give yourself permission to negotiate. Bargaining is one of many valuable budget-stretching tools available. Use it.

Focus on the result, not on any misplaced embarrassment for asking. Think of how good it will feel if you get something for your efforts. Even if you are successful, it’s a win-win situation. In most cases, the seller will still be making a profit.

Touch a chord. Choose your words carefully to reach the emotional side of the person you are dealing with, for example: ‘I’m just not sure I can afford this. Can you do any better?’ Practice different approaches in the car to see how they sound.

Practice. Just like in sales, keep trying, and your ‘ask’ will improve.

Track your results. Keep a note card in your glove box and jot down every time you purchase an item for less than the asking price. It adds up! Seeing your savings grow is a great motivator.

Lankau says large purchases, like cars and homes, or competitive services for television or telephone, are expenses where people expect to negotiate, but deals can also be found in retail shops. “My mother never hesitated to point out a flaw, if there was one, in a blouse or sweater, and she almost always received at least a ten percent discount.”

Released: 9/23/2011
Source: Wake Forest University
Via Newswise
Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/price-too-high-budget-tight-negotiate-for-a-better-deal

Business News; The Best in the U.S. for Entrepreneurship: How States Rank

Newswise — It’s been said that entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art, it’s a practice. But which parts of the United States are getting the most practice? According to a new state-by-state measurement of entrepreneurial activity, New York is at the top, followed by Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

The Empire State topped the newly released State Entrepreneurship Index, a nationwide analysis and ranking method that evaluates how states stack up in terms of business formation and innovation.

Economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research and Department of Economics developed the State Entrepreneurship Index, or SEI, by combining five key components – a state’s percentage growth and per capita growth in business establishments, its business formation rate, the number of patents per thousand residents and gross receipts of sole proprietorships and partnerships per capita.

The result is a comprehensive look at the levels of entrepreneurship in each state, said Eric Thompson, UNL associate professor of economics and director of the Bureau.

“The SEI uses a broad group of indicators rather than just raw counts of business starts,” Thompson said. “This ensures that the index reflects sales and innovation among a state’s businesses as well as the business formation rate.”

A state index for each component is assigned based on how much each state’s performance is above or below the average of all state data, which has a value of 1.0. For example, a component one standard deviation above the average gets a value of 2.0, while a component one below is assigned a value of zero. A state’s overall SEI number is the average of the five index values.

For 2010, the latest year for figures, New York’s score was 2.34, thanks to its strong performance in gross receipts per capita and substantial improvement in two other components: growth in establishments and establishments per capita. Washington (2.17), Massachusetts (2.04), New Jersey and Oregon (both at 1.93) completed the top five.

Oregon was the biggest climber in the rankings, to No. 5 from No. 45 in 2008, while Delaware moved up 28 spots to No. 14. The drastic changes were largely caused by growth in establishments and establishments per capita. Kentucky, Texas and Rhode Island also saw marked improvement, jumping 26, 25 and 25 spots, respectively.

South Carolina, with an index of 0.07, was No. 50 and Arizona (0.11) was No. 49, behind Mississippi (0.32), Nevada (0.33) and Alabama (0.41). Nevada, which was No. 7 in previous rankings, highlighted a handful of states that experienced steep drops. Arkansas, Tennessee and Utah also saw significant ranking drops, mostly because of sharp declines in growth of establishments and establishments per capita in those states.

The State Entrepreneurial Index combines detailed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Statistical Abstract.

State-by-state rankings are available for download in graphical format at http://go.unl.edu/3sm or in tabular form at http://go.unl.edu/roo.

Released: 8/2/2011
Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Via Newswise

Related Link:

 http://www.newswise.com/articles/the-best-in-the-u-s-for-entrepreneurship-how-states-rank2

Asia Retail News: Chinese Consumers Help Luxury Retailers Rebuff Sluggish Economy

Newswise — Sales of luxury goods, which analysts say could spike as much as eight percent this year, are soaring thanks to expanding personal wealth in China, says a luxury retail expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

“One of the key factors driving global sales of luxury goods is the burgeoning Chinese economy and the concomitant expansion of its affluent classes,” says Martin K. Sneider, adjunct professor of marketing at Olin Business School.

“These people are anxious to demonstrate their successes and newly found wealth,” he says. “What better way than purchasing and displaying or wearing the signature luxury items that Louis Vuitton and other similar brands market?”

While the United States hopes to avoid a “double-dip” recession, global demand for luxury goods is skyrocketing.

Luxury retail giant Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, announced recently that profits beat analysts estimates in the first six months of 2011 as demand for its products soared in America, Europe and emerging markets.

LVMH plans to open two new stores in Asia and expand four others this year.

Hermes International SCA, the French maker of luxury handbags and silk scarves, raised its target for annual revenue growth, saying first half operating profit, when numbers are released, should grow 12 to 14 percent.

Domestically, despite what many see as a still fragile economic outlook, the luxury market has taken off as well.

“The stock market has recovered, commercial real estate has rebounded and corporate earnings and salaries are robust,” Sneider says. “The self-imposed austerity of 2008 and 2009 is but a distant painful memory for wealthy Americans. Comparative store sales are up every month for Saks and Neiman-Marcus, which provides further proof that for their customers the recession is history.”

Sneider teaches the “Luxury Apparel Marketing” course at Olin Business School. During a two-week class tour of luxury goods’ headquarters in Europe this year, Sneider and his students learned first hand about the upturn in this niche market.

“It was an eye opening experience for the students,” Sneider says. “We had presentations from senior executives, buyers and strategists from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Burberry, Brunello Cucinelli, Gucci, Armani and more. I think the students were able to see the pride these retailers take in their products and some of the reasons they are expanding so quickly.”

Released: 7/29/2011
Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/chinese-consumers-help-luxury-retailers-rebuff-sluggish-economy

Fashion and Retailing News: Madonna & Daughter Lola Debut New Material Girl Marketing Campaign Featuring Kelly Osbourne

KELLY OSBOURNE Madonna along with her daughter Lola unveils the new Fall 2011 marketing campaign for their junior brand, Material Girl starring Kelly Osbourne. The campaign creative represents the quintessential New York City scene with Osbourne photographed in Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, Soho, the West Village, Little Italy and Chinatown. Material Girl is exclusively available at Macy's and macys.com. (PRNewsFoto/Iconix Brand Group, Inc.)

Material Girl and Macy’s Launch Back-To-School Marketing Campaign

NEW YORK, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MG Icon, the joint venture between Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICON) and Madonna, in partnership with Macy’s announced today it will continue its association with actress and television personality Kelly Osbourne for the fall 2011 Material Girl marketing campaign titled, “MG + NYC.” The multi-media marketing campaign will debut in September issues of fashion and lifestyle magazines such as PEOPLE StyleWatch, Nylon, Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan as well as online, outdoor, in-store and in Macy’s marketing collateral.

“We have both enjoyed working with Kelly and are thrilled to have her on board for the launch of the Fall 2011 collection,” commented Madonna and her daughter Lola.

“I’m really enjoying being the face of Material Girl. I love being part of a brand for girls and having the opportunity to work with Lola who has an amazing fashion instinct. Added to that is the fact that Madonna has been a big influence on my style over the years,” stated Kelly Osbourne.

The campaign creative represents the quintessential New York City scene with Osbourne being photographed for a series of print ads in Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, Soho, the West Village, Little Italy and Chinatown. The background includes the world famous Empire State Building, as well as a more playful feel with Osbourne on top of a double-decker tourist bus riding down Fifth Avenue.

Dari Marder, chief marketing officer, Iconix Brand Group, commented, “Kelly has been an amazing partner for Material Girl; she has truly embraced the brand and our consumers have reciprocated.” Marder added, “The essence of Material Girl is all about your own personal style and individuality. The new fall campaign, ‘MG+NYC’ reflects all the different sides of our Material Girl, from uptown to downtown.”

“Today’s ‘Material Girl’ really relates to the fashion independence and individuality of Kelly Osbourne,” said Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing and advertising, Macy’s. “We are so excited to continue with Kelly for the fall season, as we look to bring fresh fashion and inspiration to our new generation ‘Material Girl.'”

In addition to appearing in the campaign, Osbourne will make personal appearances on behalf of Material Girl brand at Macy’s.

Material Girl is a fast-fashion junior collection inspired and designed in collaboration with Madonna and her daughter Lola, along with Iconix Brand Group’s in-house fashion department. To stay up to date with the latest news from Material Girl, follow @MaterialGirlCol on Twitter and use the hash tag #MGNYC. Become a fan of Material Girl on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/materialgirlcollection.

SOURCE Iconix Brand Group, Inc.

RELATED LINKS
http://iconixbrand.com

What’s in a Label? Asian Consumers Taking Fashion Brands to a New Level

Picture Courtesy of asianimages.wordpress.com

Singapore – June 23, 2011 – There has been much written about the increased spending power of Asian consumers, in addition to their penchant for fashion and brand names, many of which have launched or expanded in Asian markets over the last decade. Now there is evidence that not only are people in India and China more brand-conscious than their counterparts in Europe and the U.S. – they also are quite open in their passion for brand names in the context of fashion.

In fact, almost three-quarters of adults in China (72%) and in India (74%) admit that brand names are important to them when purchasing clothing and accessories, compared to just one-quarter in the U.S. (26%), Great Britain (24%), and even in the country known as the world’s fashion haven – Italy (28%)!

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among 9,222 adults in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and India (June 1 and 10, 2011), the U.S (May 24 and 26, 2011) and Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy (May 25 and June 1, 2011).

Trendy vs. Classic

There are indications that in certain markets purchasing classics is more important than being trendy. 74% of Americans tend to purchase classics versus trends; a practice which is shared among adults in China (71%), India (70%), France (60%), the UK (58%), Germany and Italy (57% each).

However, in China and India, 63% indicate that they “like to be the first out of their friends to have the latest trend” whereas a quarter or fewer in all the other countries agree (between 9% and 24%).

In most of the markets studied there is a strong belief that good brand names translate to quality products; 9 in 10 adults in India (89%) and China (92%) believe that brand names provide better value due to quality, a thought shared by majorities in Singapore (75%), the U.S. (65%), Italy (63%), and France (53%) as well. However, in Spain (41%), Great Britain (48%) and Germany (47%), fewer than half think this is the case.

In Singapore (77%), India (72%), Great Britain (68%), the U.S. (66%), Spain (65%) Italy (64%) and Germany (63%) there is also a fondness for bargains, even if they are not brand names “as long as it is trendy.” In Singapore where shopping is a national pastime – and on the heels of the Great Singapore Sale – 41% report the main reason for their last purchase as “I was just browsing and it caught my eye.” One in five adults in Singapore said they made their most recent purchase because “it was on sale and I just couldn’t resist a bargain.”

Brands of What Exactly?

In Europe, branding is important when it comes to cosmetics and fragrances. In France 61% indicate that brands are important in for cosmetics and fragrances and many adults in the UK (46%), Italy (61%), Spain (48%) and Germany (41%) say the same. In Italy and Spain majority said brand names are important for sunglasses (60% and 52%, respectively).

In China and India, brands of watches are important, with 83% in China and 87% in India indicating this. 79% in China indicate that jewelry brands are important yet only one in five in France (22%), the U.S. (20%) and Germany (19%) agree .

In terms of their most recent clothing purchases, Indians were most likely to have made their recent purchase for a specific occasion, with 25% indicating this, which is not surprising given the number of family events, weddings and celebrations that their country is known for. Adults in India also indicate that brand names are important for formal wear, with 79% saying so.

So What?

While brand names may always be important, there are different values associated with these recognizable labels depending on the culture. Majorities in many countries agree that brand names are generally good quality, but in some places trendiness and the love of a bargain can trump the benefits of a well-known label.

In markets like China and India, conveying an interest in brand names is paramount, especially when it comes to status symbols like formal wear for a wedding or a shiny watch. With the growing buying power of consumers in these markets it will be important for brands to continue to tailor their products to appeal to their consumers’ specific cultural values and beliefs.

Source: Harris Interactive

Related Link:

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/PressReleases/tabid/446/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1506/ArticleId/823/Default.aspx

New Products: Cobra to Showcase Cobra Tag™ and Other Consumer and Mobile Electronics Innovations at gdgt live in New York

Cobra Tag. (PRNewsFoto/Cobra Electronics)

NEW YORK, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cobra Electronics Corporation (NASDAQ: COBR), celebrating 50 years of innovation in 2011 as a leading designer and manufacturer of award-winning consumer and mobile electronics, today announced it will showcase some of its newest and most innovative new consumer electronics devices as a sponsor of gdgt live in NY, a high energy gadget showcase which kicks off the CEA’s CE Week in New York City. The event takes place June 21, 2011, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street, in the heart of downtown Manhattan.

At gdgt live and throughout CE Week, Cobra will preview some of its latest CE and mobile electronics innovations. Among them, Cobra Tag powered by Phone Halo Technology, is an ingenious alarm and loss prevention system that consists of a smartphone app that is paired via Bluetooth® to a small, sleek key fob device. Owners download the free Cobra Tag app to their smartphone and then attach the Cobra Tag device to any item they wish to protect, such as car keys, a purse, or a backpack. The Cobra Tag system monitors the distance between the phone and tagged items and produces an audible alert if they become separated.

The company will also be demonstrating Cobra iRadar™, the industry’s most advanced smart detection system, providing Cobra customers with personal safety, driving peace-of-mind, and near real-time safety information updates. Other products on display during various events during CE Week will include Cobra PhoneLynx™, a unique and affordable solution to eliminating landline home phone bills, as well as the entire 2011 family of industry-leading radar detectors from Cobra.

“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2011 and our long-standing relationship with the consumer electronics industry and the CEA, we are delighted to play a key role in the first-ever CE Week festivities in New York,” said Sally Washlow, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Cobra Electronics. “As most of us know, the ‘town that never sleeps’ is an easy place to misplace cell phones, purses, and backpacks, so it’s the perfect venue to preview our exciting new Cobra Tag device.”

“All of us at gdgt are excited to be kicking off CE Week in New York City with innovative sponsors like Cobra,” said Peter Rojas, co-founder of gdgt. “There’ll be tons of cool new gadgets to play with, free gdgt t-shirts and smartphone cases, and chances to win some amazing gear. It’s a great opportunity for users to interact with, and give feedback to, the companies creating the gadgets they can’t live without.”

SOURCE Cobra Electronics

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cobra.com

Economic News; Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Continues Downward

Rising unemployment claims and inflation weaken the outlook on consumer spending

NEW YORK, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index (the Index) continued to decline in May, weighed down by a sharp rise in unemployment claims last month. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“The labor market indicators are the primary cause of weakness in the Index, however the economy is up against other temporary headwinds that suggest weak growth may persist for the near term,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly Index. “Rising food and energy prices continue to hurt real wages, which combined with Americans’ insecurities about the job market, compound the pressure on consumer spending.”

The Index, which is comprised of four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices — fell to 2.66 percent, from an upwardly revised gain of 3.29 percent a month ago.

“Prices for everyday necessities continue to climb, leaving consumers with fewer discretionary dollars to spend,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail & distribution sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “As retailers are also challenged by rising prices, they should consider using some of the latest tools and analytics capabilities to more surgically improve margins while keeping prices low on traffic builders. Leveraging their rich transaction data in combination with new advanced analytics techniques can help to maximize sales without alienating loyal consumers. Insights into spending patterns, product preferences and price sensitivities can help retailers apply strategies to respond to a more selective consumer and keep costs in check.”

Highlights of the Index include:

Tax Burden: The tax burden is up slightly, from 9.1 to 10.15 percent from a year ago. A rising tax burden is typically a sign of an improving economy.

Initial Unemployment Claims: After breaking down below the 400,000 barrier from October to March, claims have increased sharply to 432,500. A decline in the labor market puts the current recovery at risk.

Real Wages: In the most recent month, real wage growth contracted by 0.8 percent from a year ago and is being held down by rising energy and food prices.

Real Home Prices: Real home prices continue to decline, albeit at a slightly slower pace. Prices over the past three months have shown some stability but are still down 3.3 percent from a year ago. New home inventories are almost back to normal levels despite record low level of transactions.

SOURCE Deloitte
RELATED LINKS
http://www.deloitte.com/us

Consumer Reports Survey: Car Buyers Want Better Fuel Economy and Are Willing to Pay for It

YONKERS, N.Y., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The tough economy and high gas prices are driving consumers to prioritize fuel economy with their next car purchase according to a new survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. And to save at the pump, they are willing to compromise on purchase price, amenities, and size  but not safety.

Taking the pulse of American motorists on car buying and fuel economy issues, the Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted 1,764 random, nationwide telephone interviews of adult car owners from April 28-May 2, 2011.

The results of the survey are available at http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/.  Updated daily, Consumer Reports is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

The economy has caused a significant drop in annual car sales over recent years, and the age of the average car driven by respondents has increased to eight years. This trend was consistent across most demographics, though household income was a key factor. In households earning $50,000 or more a year, the average age of their cars was six years, whereas lower-income households drove 10-year-old vehicles on average. A significant 23 percent of surveyed motorists are driving cars from the 1990s, many of which must be at the tail end of their reliable service life and certainly well behind current safety standards.

What will they buy?

For their next car, nearly twice as many consumers expect to choose a model with much better or somewhat better fuel economy (62 percent) relative to those who are targeting about the same fuel economy (32 percent). Just 5 percent say their next car will have worse fuel economy, likely driven by changing needs, such as a growing family (minivan) or launching a small business (pickup truck).

Survey respondents expect their next car to deliver an average of 29 mpg. Older drivers, women, and those from lower-income households expect even greater fuel economy. These demographic groups favor small cars and sedans – car types that can deliver that desired mileage. More than 10 percent said they expect 40 mpg or better in their next car.

To get significant fuel-economy gains, more than half of respondents are willing to pay extra for a more efficient vehicle, playing right into the strategy of several automakers who offer special-edition models for a premium. Often the gains for such models are slight, just 1-2 mpg, and the return on that investment – even when just a few hundred dollars – may be much longer than consumers anticipate.

What would you do to save on fuel?

New car Used car
Pay more for fuel-efficient car 58% 49%
Compromise amenities or comfort 44 54
Compromise size or capacity 47 48
Compromise performance 27 35
Compromise safety 11 14

Despite consumers craving relief from operating costs, and owning older cars, just 17 percent plan to purchase a car in the coming year. Younger consumers (aged 18-34 years) are three times as likely to buy a car this year as older consumers (aged 55 and over).

Among those who plan to purchase, about four in 10 will buy a new car, led by older, more affluent consumers. Most car shoppers (55 percent) will likely buy used, thereby avoiding the initial depreciation hit experienced with new cars and giving them more vehicle for the money.

Car type planned to purchase in next year

New car Used car
Sedan 21% 18%
Small car 18 19
Midsized SUV 16 11
Small SUV 12 10
Pickup truck 8 13
Minivan 7 9
Sporty car 6 5
Large SUV 5 5
Convertible 2 2
Wagon 1 1

Compared against their current cars, shoppers are moving away from both new and used sedans, despite that many sedans provide a good balance of fuel economy and safety. The number of respondents who expect to buy a new or used sedan is 5 and 8 percentage points lower, respectively, than the number who currently own a sedan. Pickup truck interest is also down, but that is less surprising given economic conditions.

The car-type shift sees shoppers gravitating toward new small and midsized SUVs – traditionally versatile vehicles, though often not the thriftiest choices. There is only a 1 percentage point shift from large SUV ownership (6 percent) to purchase intent (5 percent), giving this expensive, gas-guzzling category surprising market resiliency. The best balance of dynamics, flexibility, and ownership costs is often a wagon, yet wagons rate at the absolute bottom for purchase intent.

More older consumers intend to get a sedan or small car than others. Men prefer pickup trucks by a wide margin, while women lead small SUV interest.

While America’s passenger-car fleet continues to age, less than a fifth of car owners will be looking to replace their ride in the coming year. When it does come time to buy, fuel economy will be a primary factor, driven by operating costs. To reach their fuel-economy goals, most shoppers will need to compromise on size and even consider paying more for a diesel or hybrid – something many consumers claim they are willing to do.

Consumer Reports will dig deeper into the survey’s findings on attitudes toward car buying in upcoming blogs at www.ConsumerReports.org.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted telephone surveys of 2,033 random adults comprising 1,018 men and 1,015 women 18 years of age and older. Respondents were screened for ownership by the household of one or more vehicles. The analysis is based on the 1,764 adults who said that their household owns a vehicle. Interviewing took place over April 28-May 2, 2011. The sampling error is +/- 2.4 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

SOURCE Consumer Reports

RELATED LINKS
http://www.consumerreports.org

Old Navy’s “Wish You Were Here” Summer Road Trip Hitting the Streets

Old Navy's "We Wish They Were Here" sand sculpture gallery of pop culture icons to celebrate Old Navy's "Wish You Were Here" Summer Road Trip. (PRNewsFoto/Old Navy)

NEW YORK, May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Remember when you all piled in mom’s station wagon to take that family trip to the beach? You packed a cooler with popsicles, sandwiches, played paddle ball and built sandcastles until the sun went down.  Old Navy is now bringing back that summer nostalgia with their “Wish You Were Here” summer road trip.

This season, Old Navy has packed up their Winnebago with beach games, giveaways and is heading across the country to bring summer fun to your neighborhood. Consumers will be invited to the Old Navy beach party where they can enjoy a variety of boardwalk pastimes such as the Tire Toss, Wack-A-Mole, Dunk Tank and Happy Pigs while snacking on salt water taffy and ice cream treats. Guests can also pop into the Old Navy Flip Book Photo Studio and capture the quintessential summertime photo to share online with their family and friends.

To continue the summer celebration, Old Navy has partnered with television personality and foodie, Marc Summers who will be sharing his expert eating tips and favorite summer spots. Marc’s “Top Ten Beach Food Must Haves” list secret tips such as; ways to bring out the flavor of watermelon, where to find the best fried clams on the east coast, the trick to making the perfect French fry at home, and the real difference between water ice, snow cones and shaved ice. Guests can visit http://www.facebook.com/oldnavy for Marc’s insider advice and view Old Navy’s “We Wish They Were Here” sand sculpture gallery of pop culture icons such as Lady Gaga, Will and Kate, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and more, created by the world famous sand sculpting duo Greg and Brandi Glenn of Sandscapes.

Participation is FREE of charge and all guests will receive special Old Navy discounts and prizes.

*Donations for admission will be given to BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA® with a suggested donation of $2 per person or $5 per family.

WHEN/WHERE
Long Branch, NJ– Festival Plaza
Saturday, May 28th- 11am-6pm
Chicago, IL- 1600 North Avenue Beach
Saturday, June 11th- 11am-6pm
Santa Monica, CA– Santa Monica Pier Deck
Saturday, June 25th- 11am-6pm

SOURCE Old Navy

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