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Study: Life Stage Key to Spending

May 3, 2009  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal’s women-centric initiative, Women@NBCU, last week unveiled new research that enables marketers to see how their consumers are reacting to the recession and adjust their advertising plans appropriately.
To find out what consumers are really doing, Women@NBCU commissioned a study with Experian Simmons of more than 3,900 participants to find out their plans for making large and small purchases and figure out who was still spending and who was staying loyal to brands, said Tony Cardinale, senior VP for research and strategic insight at Bravo, Oxygen and Women@NBCU.
That data was cross-referenced not only by traditional age and sex demographics, but by life stage—i.e., getting married, having children, getting divorced, events that happen to different people at different times.
The study found that women consumers could be grouped into roughly seven categories. At one extreme was a group called Daily Savers, who had stopped spending. This group was surprisingly small at 9%, Mr. Cardinale said.
At the other end of the scale was Recession-Proof, who weren’t doing anything differently. They represented about 17% of the total.
Mr. Cardinale said that for most marketers, there is an opportunity among two of the groups in the middle. One, representing 20% of the total, is Big Ticket Die-Hards, who Mr. Cardinale said are giving up their Starbucks coffee so they can still take their vacations. The Everyday Spenders, on the other hand, are keeping their Starbucks but postponing vacation plans. They represent 27% of consumers.
The survey also asked consumers how strongly they felt they would continue their spending and found responses tended to cluster by life stage, rather than by demo.
For example, the groups that plan to continue their spending overall were those who expected to get married in the next 12 months and those who planned to marry off their daughter in the next 12 months.
Among those who expected to curtail spending were those who are expecting to graduate from school and those who were expecting to have a new grandchild.
Women@NBCU has put the information in a database that can identify the consumers still buying a client’s brand and send the right message via the media where those consumers are concentrated—avoiding large concentrations of consumers who have stopped spending.
For example, when looking to reach young women who historically attended films on opening weekend, WE tv was the top choice. But when the field was narrowed to those women still spending money on movie tickets, Oxygen and Lifetime moved up in the rankings, overtaking WE.
Similarly, for a retailer, the data shows that consumers still spending money could be reached via Bravo and Style on cable, as well as via ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and NBC’s “The Office.” A different message for those looking for bargains could be sent using BET, NBC’s “The Apprentice” and “Dateline” and CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
“The tool also allows a shampoo brand to reach nearly a million more customers planning to spend now by reallocating its media spending,” Mr. Cardinale said.

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