Quirk's Blog

Relocating consumers look to relieve stress and build new relationships


In today’s world, a move to a new home may damage more than your personal belongings. A new national survey commissioned by Our Town America reveals moving also scars personal relationships as couples fight over why and where they moved while struggling with money problems and decreased intimacy. And talk about relationship revenge in a move! Nearly one in three survey respondents admitted to “accidentally losing” a significant other’s prized possession or purposefully tossing it in the Goodwill bag.

The survey was released for May’s National Moving Month, the start of the busiest moving time of the year. More than 40 million Americans are expected to relocate this year and most will make their move during summer months when the weather is favorable and kids are out of school.

The national survey of more than 300 men and women who have moved in the past five years reveals:

  • Of those in a relationship, more than one third (35 percent) say moving has scarred their relationship due to increased fighting (51 percent), decreased intimacy (49 percent) and financial strain (49 percent) – the top three moving relationship stressors.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents say they disagreed over where to move and 42 percent say they fought over the reason for the move – negative feelings that can linger long after they unpacked the china.
  • Those with children say the stress hit the whole family with “choosing the right school” and “helping the kids find new friends” as the top two moving stressors related to their kids.


Dirty dumping  

  • Nearly one in three (30 percent) respondents admitted they had “accidentally” lost one of their partner’s prized possessions – by breaking it (43 percent) or dropping it off at Goodwill (34 percent).
  • Topping the “I hate it” hit list of the five things people secretly toss are knick knacks, photo albums, books, decorative towels and old trophies.


Unfriendly neighbors add to moving stress

More than half (53 percent) of the respondents said that today’s neighbors are not as friendly as the neighbors they remember as a child because they “seem too busy.” This is unfortunate as nearly half of respondents (49 percent) also voted “meeting new neighbors” as a top three requirement to feeling comfortable and settled in a new home.

Housewarming gifts matter

More than half (54 percent) of survey respondents have moved six or more times and more than two in three (67 percent) have moved out of state or out of the country. Today’s movers need a helping hand to feel comfortable and learn more about their brand new surroundings.

  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents said that receiving a housewarming gift would make them feel more comfortable in a new home/neighborhood, yet less than half (46 percent) have ever received a housewarming gift when new to a neighborhood.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents said they would have liked advice about their new community upon move in. Ninety-three percent say they would take advantage of an offer from a local business that took the time to welcome them to the community.


This online survey of 306 men and women was conducted by a third party and commissioned by Our Town America. Survey participants have no affiliation with Our Town America.

Posted in Consumer Psychology, Consumer Research, Lifecycle/Lifestyle Research | Comments Off

Is the engagement off? E-com comes to wedding-dress shopping


In an attempt to slowly check off items on my wedding to-do list (I’m getting married in 2015) I found myself shopping for the most expensive piece of clothing I will ever purchase: a wedding dress. Standing at the crowded check-in counter filling out the shop’s customer information form, I confidently wrote down my price range. My range was probably a bit lower than that of the 15 other women in the room, according to TheKnot.com’s latest U.S. survey, which lists that the average bride spends $1,281 on a gown.

In an industry that screams “once-in-a-lifetime” and calls on brides to forget looking at the price tag, I found it necessary to peruse the Web and determine an initial budget range for my dress before stepping into a store. I didn’t want to walk into my first appointment and fall in love with something I couldn’t afford.

Traditionally, the bridal industry is one that has remained focused on the brick-and-mortar store. Brides still desire that in-store experience of saying yes to the dress (thank you TLC for fostering the dream of well-lit podiums and three-tier mirrors). But the bridal industry is not immune to e-commerce. Whether buying a wedding gown online to take advantage of a huge discount, simply perusing the Internet for styles and prices or searching for the perfect store, brides are taking to the Web.

According to a recent article, David’s Bridal has latched onto increasing online engagement with brides through the IBM e-commerce solution to boost overall sales. Since launching, the company has seen a 20 percent growth in traffic year over year and pages-per-visit have increased from 20 to about 30. While the article doesn’t go into what this means for online (or in-store) sales, it does show that brides are interested in more interactive online engagement.

How will the bridal industry take further hold of e-commerce and online engagement? Are stores (unlike David’s Bridal) currently missing out on a huge marketing opportunity by maintaining that an in-store experience is necessary? Or should the industry be applauded for creating an exclusivity that requires an in-store purchase? What are the implications when a purchase that is so laden with emotion moves to the dispassionate (at least in theory) e-realm?

Posted in Apparel, Retailing, Shopper Insights | Comments Off

As World Cup nears, ambush marketing takes to the field

With international marketers readying for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) has released Ambush Marketing: A Global Legal Perspective, which summarizes laws and other rules governing ambush marketing in 52 countries around the world. “Ambush marketing,” a controversial marketing practice that pits non-sponsors against rights holders, is as prevalent as ever, as marketers seek to associate themselves, rightly or wrongly, with significant sporting or entertainment events.

481459817According to the Ambush Marketing Report, most countries do not have specific legislation addressing ambush marketing. Therefore, rights holders, event producers and official sponsors generally have to rely on traditional trademark and unfair competition law to protect their rights.

Some jurisdictions have enacted event-based legislation that addresses ambush marketing practices when they were required to do so by rights holders, such as the International Olympics Committee or FIFA, in order to get the rights to host the event. For example, Brazil enacted its General World Cup Law (“Lei Geral da Copa” — Law 12.663/2012) in June 2012 after being awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup.

“We anticipate that more countries will enact event-based legislation to help protect against unwanted ambush marketing,” said Alex Kelham of Lewis Silkin, GALA’s United Kingdom member, in a press statement. “Existing laws are often not sufficient to combat or deter many creative forms of ambush marketing. Rights holders therefore push governments of host countries to enact special legislation to protect their sponsors’ exclusive rights of association, and thereby preserve a primary source of funding for the event,” she said.

Major event producers also continue to aggressively enforce their rights against ambush marketers, according to the Ambush Marketing Report. “With the FIFA World Cup only a few weeks away, we are seeing extensive efforts by both the Brazilian government and FIFA to guard against unauthorized marketing efforts,” said Valdir Rocha, a partner at Veirano Advogados in Brazil and GALA’s vice chairman.

Countries take many different approaches to addressing ambush marketing, adopting a wide variety of rules and enforcement practices. “It is critical for global marketers to understand the rules of the road,” said Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, managing partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz in New York and GALA’s chairman. “With markers using social media to try to stay relevant to consumers on a real-time basis, it is easier than ever for marketers to unwittingly step over the line.”

The report, which updates GALA’s 2011 edition and is available for download here, addresses legal, regulatory and commercial considerations and includes recent enforcement actions in the field of ambush marketing.


Posted in Advertising Research, Brand and Image Research, Marketing Best Practices, Media Research, Television Research | 1 Comment

Photo recap from Cocktails with Quirk’s in New York!

We’ve been having a blast hosting Cocktails with Quirk’s, a series of free networking events for researchers to network with their peers in a casual, comfortable environment. Our next party is coming up on Monday, May 19th, at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles from 8-11 p.m., in conjunction with IIR’s Future of Consumer Intelligence Conference. If you’ll be in the area, feel free to join us! Register now!

We also thought this would be a great opportunity to share some photos of our New York event, which took place at The Latitude Bar in New York on March 24th, in conjuction with the Advertising Research Foundation’s annual conference.

Many thanks to Nelson Davis of AIP for photographing the event. Click here to view the rest of the photos.

IMG_9293  IMG_9361 IMG_9357IMG_9289

Posted in Market Research Best Practices, The Business of Research | Comments Off

Digital execs see wearable devices going mass-market in 3 years

An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of digital executives questioned by San Francisco research firm AnswerLab believe that wearables – those futuristic devices beginning to adorn the wrists and spectacles of some early tech adopters – will gain mass-market adoption in the next three years. And, while more than half (52 percent) of that same group saw relevant applications for wearable devices in their own business in the same time period, only 27 percent said their companies were integrating wearables in the short-term, underscoring a need for a range of industries to better prepare for how wearables could impact their own businesses.

478461335Devices thought to have the most staying power were led by fitness monitors, with 89 percent of those questioned pointing to Nike+ FuelBand and FitBit Flex (78 percent) as most likely to gain mass-market traction. In addition, 67 percent of participants envisioned Google Glass as gaining broad adoption, followed by the Samsung smartwatch (41 percent).

In the survey, AnswerLab queried digital executives who are driving product development, marketing and research at companies – ranging from well-known Fortune 500 brands to start-ups – about the future for wearables (defined in the query as “always-on, sensor-based or interactive digital devices” that some early adopters of technology are beginning to make part of their everyday lives).

“Many top digital business minds seem to agree: wearables are quickly evolving from a niche to mass-market. Whether they’re designed as bracelets or eyewear, these devices are a major trend to watch and something to inform future digital plans,” said AnswerLab CEO Amy Buckner Chowdhry in a press statement. “But as we listen to the marketplace, it appears there is a big gap in what businesses see as a growth category versus actual investment in a strategy to meet demand or opportunities provided by what is expected to be a boom in wearables. Ultimately, the devices that offer the best customer experience will win hearts, minds and dollars. With broader market penetration right around the corner, it’s time for businesses to develop strategies that anticipate and support the wearables market.”

More than half of the executives (52 percent) who participated believe that wearables will be relevant to their own business within a three-year time frame. Respondents felt that wearables have the most potential in the fitness (96 percent), medical (85 percent), gaming (56 percent), entertainment (56 percent) and lifestyle (52 percent) arenas. But only 27 percent were aware of plans to integrate wearables into their own businesses.

According to those questioned, current challenges in the wearable category today include the need to improve battery life, a high price point, data accuracy and addressing consumer concern about privacy and security.

More details about the survey are available here.

The findings are based on an online survey conducted in February of senior-level professionals who are directly involved in the strategy, design, development or marketing of digital products or services.

Posted in Apparel, Health Care Research, Lifecycle/Lifestyle Research | Comments Off

Version updates and price changes boost apps’ iTunes list rankings

New York-based The Loadown, a marketing optimization platform for mobile apps, released a new report, Using Version Updates and Price Changes to Improve Mobile App Discovery, showing that, based on U.S. market data collected by The Loadown in 2013, iOS app publishers and developers making version updates and price changes improve their positioning on iTunes’ Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing lists.

“When a paid or free app is updated to a new version, the developer can change the name, icon, description, screenshots and keywords of the app as well as force users to notice the new update,” said David Renard, CEO of The Loadown, in a press statement. For price changes, “sales get featured on an Apple RSS feed that is distributed to thousands of sites and Twitter feeds focused on promoting apps that have gone on sale or have recently become free,” he said.

The Loadown’s data (see graph) indicates that free apps making version changes increased the number of days they were ranked by an average of 45 percent in Apple’s Top Free list and 73 percent in Top Grossing (19 more days), compared to apps that never updated their versions. In terms of rank, these free apps improved by about 17 percent in Top Paid and 21 percent in Top Grossing (45 rank positions).

loaddown_imageSimilarly, compared to apps that never changed their prices and never updated their versions, paid apps that did had an average increase of 36 percent in the number of days they were ranked in Top Paid and 96 percent in Top Grossing (22 more days) along with a 23 percent improvement in their Top Paid rank and 21 percent in Top Grossing (50 rank positions).

The Loadown’s data provides supporting evidence that active involvement by apps in their positioning on Apple’s App Store through version updates and price changes significantly improves their discoverability, downloads and sales.

Posted in Market Studies, Smartphones | Comments Off

Lily Allen deems MR ‘totally unhelpful’

RecordThough she may not have the late Steve Jobs’ clout, British singer Lily Allen is yet another celebrity who’s spoken out to publicly criticize the value – and validity – of marketing research.

According to an April 24th interview (warning: explicit language) with Popjustice’s Peter Robinson, Allen says that she was accidentally copied on an e-mail containing market research results for her work and that reading it was one of the most horrible moments of her life.

Allen goes on:

The thing is, people who take part in market research: Are they really representative of the marketplace? Probably not. I find it totally unhelpful. My mom’s a film producer and they do these market research screenings and more often than not, it’s just like school: People don’t have opinions but because they’re asked for them, they come up with something and then it becomes a statistic. It’s like, he didn’t actually think that, he was just trying to impress the bored-looking girl in row three and he thought this could be his in with her. I’ve yet to see an example of market research where it’s actually good.

Ouch! It’s possible that Allen simply didn’t like what the research yielded and if the results had skewed more in her favor, she’d be singing a different tune. It’s also possible, however, that she has a point. Does marketing research force opinions out of consumers who would otherwise be apathetic or oblivious? How much of consumer feedback is the result of grandstanding, posturing and trying to impress? Is this more likely to happen in certain industries, such as entertainment, where hipness very much matters, or health care, where doctors try to impress each other in focus groups? How about with different demographics? Are younger respondents more prone to this type of behavior?

Aside from Allen’s unfairly black-and-white assessment, does her argument hold?

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Consumer Research, Focus Groups, Market Research in the News, Qualitative Research | 9 Comments

What needs are driving the 55-plus car owner?

80404231The age of new-auto purchasers is rising and that will have implications on many related areas, including service, according to Foresight Research, Rochester Hills, Mich. “In the past few years we have seen a dramatic trend in the age of new auto purchasers, where adults aged 55 or older were one-quarter of that group in 2008 and now represent almost one-half,” said Nancy Walter, vice president of business development at Foresight Research, in a press statement. “This shift has a big impact on the purchase influences and processes of buying cars. But what we didn’t expect was the implications for car service expectations.”

Foresight surveys weekly in markets across the U.S. from September-April. Recently the firm included some specific questions about service and got strong responses from the 55-plus car owners. For instance, when asked where they go for routine service, over one-third of this group take their cars to their dealership and another quarter take them to an independent local repair shop, both of which are significantly higher than the total population.

“It is the ‘whys’ that are really interesting,” said Walter. “When asked why they chose the place they go for service, the 55-and-older owners value quality and convenience.” Specifically, senior adults list convenient location, quality of service and good customer service as their top three factors in going where they go for auto service. They also value skill/training/expertise of technicians, use of genuine parts, and loaner cars/shuttles at a rate of 20 percent to 50 percent more than the total population.

“Price is just lower on the list for the mature adults. It ranks fourth on why they go where they go for service, while for 18-to-34-year-olds, price is a definitive No. 1. In fact, adults 55 or older were significantly less likely than the total population to cite ‘price matching/same price as other maintenance shops’ as something that would encourage them to take their vehicle to a dealership for routine maintenance if they currently were going somewhere else,” Walter said.


Posted in Automotive Research, Customer Satisfaction, Seniors/Mature | Comments Off

Chinese luxury consumers putting a premium on craftsmanship

455659727While high-earning Chinese consumers are known for their love of luxury items and the status they can confer, new research from Mintel reveals there is a new characteristic these consumers are looking for: craftsmanship. Indeed, according to Mintel, “craftsmanship” was claimed by 64 percent of urban Chinese consumers as the word most defining luxury – ahead of “expensive” at 58 percent and “status” at 53 percent.

Furthermore, 71 percent of those with household income over RMB 25,000 per month define luxury as craftsmanship, a full 10 percent more than those with household income between RMB 20,000 and 25,000 per month (61 percent). In addition, a massive 94 percent agreed that they identify luxury brands as those providing craftsmanship in production and design.

“It’s no secret that Chinese consumers are becoming more mature in their outlook toward luxury goods,” said Matthew Crabbe, director of research Asia Pacific at Mintel, in a press release. “What’s especially compelling about this research is that they show the true extent to which this attitude has penetrated the market, in addition to clarifying what a ‘mature’ attitude to luxury looks like in China. Though status is still important to the Chinese luxury consumer, the trend toward luxury consumption for one’s own enjoyment is clear.”

Conversely, 48 percent of consumers with household income over RMB 25,000 per month say status is a consideration when they purchase luxury goods. This figure rises to 53 percent at incomes between RMB 20,000 and 25,000 per month. “This research highlights that the wealthier a consumer is, the more likely he or she is to appreciate luxury goods for their innate quality and value – and the less likely he or she is to define luxury in terms of external factors such as the status or extravagance of a luxury product,” Crabbe said.

In addition, 46 percent of urban Chinese consumers with monthly household income above RMB 20,000 noted extravagance as being central to the definition of a luxury good, whereas this number rose to 51 percent of those with monthly household incomes between RMB 18,000 and 19,000, and again to 53 percent of those with monthly household incomes of between RMB 12,000 and 18,000.

In tandem with this greater appreciation of quality and more mature outlook on luxury products, Mintel’s data also shows a willingness to explore new brands, as Chinese brands begin to win over consumers in some categories. Indeed, while some categories such as watches and cosmetics are still dominated by foreign brands (79 percent of urban Chinese consumers said foreign watches are superior to Chinese brands; while 69 percent said foreign cosmetics are superior to Chinese brands), 43 percent believe Chinese and foreign luxury clothing brands provide the same quality product, and 15 percent believe Chinese brands are better. Similarly, 40 percent believe Chinese and foreign luxury shoe brands provide the same quality shoes, and 16 percent believe Chinese brands are better.

“Though the trend is still in its infancy, Chinese brands are beginning to make inroads with Chinese luxury consumers,” said Crabbe. “There is a growing consciousness that, in many cases, Chinese brands are able to offer craftsmanship and design to a level that is on par with or above foreign brands. Also, these brands are in some cases more able to tailor their offerings directly to Chinese consumer tastes, so we expect to see a growing segment of the Chinese luxury shoe and clothing markets in particular to be occupied by Chinese brands in the coming years.”

Posted in Apparel, Brand and Image Research, Chinese Consumers, International Research, Luxury/Wealthy Markets | Comments Off

Studies seek to measure impact of social media on TV viewing

91204693Nineteen percent of online Americans ages 15-to-54 say they are reached by social media at least once a day regarding prime-time TV, according to a study from the New York-based industry group Council for Research Excellence (CRE). For example, someone who saw something or posted something about a prime-time TV show on Facebook or Twitter would fall within this category.

Sixteen percent of prime-time TV viewing occasions involve some interaction with social media. During nearly half of these occasions (7.3 percent of prime-time TV viewing instances), the viewer is engaging with social media specifically about the show being viewed. These viewing occasions constitute the study’s definition of “socially-connected viewing” – occasions when people engage in social media about a TV show while watching that show.

Socially-connected TV viewing is most evident with new TV shows, which indexed at 142, and sports programming, which indexed at 129.

On 11.4 percent of prime-time TV viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook; on 3.3 percent of viewing occasions, they’re using Twitter. On 3.8 percent of prime-time viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook regarding the show they are watching – making them socially-connected viewers. This compares to 1.8 percent for Twitter. Therefore, Facebook’s socially-connected viewing occasions were 33 percent of its total TV viewing occasions (3.8 percent/11.4 percent) while Twitter’s were 55 percent (1.8 percent/3.3 percent).

These are among additional findings from the CRE’s recently completed study, Talking Social TV 2, a follow-up to the CRE’s 2012-2013 Talking Social TV study. Both can be found on the Social Media Committee page.

“A key question we sought to address is how social media usage relates to new viewing platforms and behaviors – for example tablet usage or binge-viewing,” said Beth Rockwood, senior vice president, market resources, of Discovery Communications, who chairs the CRE’s Social Media Committee. “The majority of viewing remains live and on traditional TV sets but we do see that social media use has a stronger relationship with the newer platforms and behaviors. This is evidence that social media is an important part of the new ways that people are consuming television content.”

Socially-connected viewing is led by viewing via a channel app or Web site (152 index to total) and on-demand TV (137 index).

Social media influence is closely linked to viewing on non-traditional screens. Tablets and phones index at 287 percent and 241 percent, respectively, among all screens watched by those influenced by social media.

Socially-connected viewing is closely linked to binge-viewing: Viewing multiple episodes indexed at 146, compared to 104 for current episodes.

The Super Connectors – those most engaged with social media in relation to their TV viewing – represented 22 percent of participants and are distinguished by their daily use of social media to follow TV shows, or actors and personalities, or to communicate about TV characters. A newer category, Sports Super Connectors, represented 17 percent of study participants. TV Super Connectors and Sports Super Connectors each are twice as likely to be socially connected on Facebook and on Twitter than the average.

TV Super Connectors skew 62 percent female, Sports Super Connectors skew 57 percent male, both are in their mid-30s (median age 34 for TV Super Connectors and 35 for Sports Super Connectors) and both are above-average in multicultural representation.

The study was conducted for the CRE by a team from Keller Fay Group with fieldwork conducted by Nielsen. The findings were gleaned from more than 78,000 mobile-app diary entries submitted by nearly 1,700 study participants representative of the online population ages 15-to-54, permitting case studies on some 1,600 shows. Fieldwork for the study was conducted from September 16 to October 6, 2013, dates selected to coincide with the launch of the fall TV season.

Posted in Advertising Research, Media Research, Social Media and Marketing Research, Television Research | Comments Off