How Consumers Feel About Brands Expressing Opinions on Social Issues

By Mark Tosh
Friday, August 23, 2019 8:00 AM With many Americans polarized around social and political issues, it has become more important for brands that decide to take a stand to have some understanding of the risks that are associated with their decisions. With this in mind, research firm YouGov reviewed its data to compare the point of views of consumers from the U.S. and Britain. The objective was to explore whether consumers think it’s appropriate for brands to comment on social issues and to what extent this would depend on the industry. More than half (52 percent) of people in Britain think that brands should be able to express how they feel on a certain topic, compared with 61 percent of those from the U.S. “What’s more, just under half (48 percent) of Americans say they like brands that are willing to get involved in social issues and 42 percent of Brits say the same,” YouGov reported. Read the YouGov report here.

In addition, about six in 10 (59 percent) people in both countries don’t think brands should express views on social or political issues, but often this depends on the industry and the issue. “This indicates that it’s up to the brand itself to weigh up the risk versus the reward and understand what causes will resonate with their own audience and what will put them off,” the report said.

Many Frame Purchases Influenced by Personal Style Knowledge, WIO Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:00 AM Fifty-eight percent of participants of a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll said that their office team rely on its own sense of style and understanding of their market when it comes to making frame purchases. Many respondents said that their office does have a plan in place for these processes: 39 percent used a subjective system, and 33 percent used an objective system. Twenty-six percent lean on frame representatives for guidance. Participants were able to select all that applied to their office. 

Sixty percent of respondents said that someone else in the business makes frame purchasing decisions and that they give minimal influence towards these choices. Another 15 percent said that they have final approval but are not heavily involved. Twenty-three percent said that they personally make frame purchasing decisions.

Retail Store Numbers Continue to Grow, NRF Says

By Staff
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 12:00 AM With the bankruptcy of Barney’s in the news, we’re bound to see another round of handwringing in the media over the “retail apocalypse,” according to a recent feature from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The actual data paints a very different picture, though. As the just-released “Retail Renaissance – A Growth Story” report from IHL Group (a global research and advisory firm specializing in technologies for the retail and hospitality industries) points out, retail stores are definitely not going away. According to the report, for each company closing stores, 5.2 are opening stores. For every segment of retail, there are more companies opening stores than closing stores. Even the much-maligned department store category has more brands opening stores than closing them. 

‘Back to School’ Means Anytime From Late July to After Labor Day, Depending On Where You Live

By Staff
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 7:00 AM As of the second full week of August, millions of American schoolkids are heading back to school or have already started. And depending on where you live, that statement might produce a reaction of either “That sounds about right” or “That seems way too early!” 

According to data from Pew Research Center, back-to-school dates in the U.S., it turns out, vary considerably by state and region, based on Pew’s analysis of a sampling of the nation’s 13,000-plus public school districts. By the end of the second full week of August, for example, nearly all elementary and secondary school students in the East South Central region—a Census Bureau division that includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee—will be back in school. But not a single district in the nine New England and Middle Atlantic states will resume classes before Aug. 26, and many wait until after Labor Day.

More Gen Z Employees Are Enrolling in Vision Benefits, Transitions Survey Finds

By Andrew Karp
Monday, August 19, 2019 7:00 AM While vision benefit enrollment remains significantly higher among older employees, new research from Transitions Optical reveals that this trend may be changing. Today, Gen Z employees—who are expected to comprise one-fifth of the workforce by 2021—are more likely to enroll in and utilize their company’s vision benefits than they were just one year ago. 

According to the 10th annual Transitions Optical Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey, six in 10 Gen Z employees (ages 18-24) are enrolled in a vision plan—compared to just half of Gen Z employees surveyed in 2018. Additionally, 44 percent of Gen Z employees say that whether a company offers vision benefits has been an important factor in their decision to accept a job—reinforcing the value of talking up vision benefits when it comes to employee attraction and retention. 

A Survey of Americans and What They Think of Shopper Loyalty Programs

By Mark Tosh
Sunday, August 18, 2019 7:00 AM Just about everyone is a member of one or more customer loyalty programs. These programs come in various shapes and sizes, in part because of variations by industry, by demographic and by brand, as a YouGov survey recently noted. “Customers in certain industries are motivated by different benefits and identifying the proper framework can lead to increased customer satisfaction,” the research firm noted. 

In an effort to uncover how consumers feel about these programs, YouGov conducted a survey of American consumers earlier this year to get a better understanding of this phenomenon. The firm discovered via its research that roughly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) are members of at least one program. 

The complete report can be downloaded here.  

“Savvy customers now want and expect a brand to reward their loyalty,” the research firm noted. “At a glance, women (68 percent) are more likely than men (59 percent) to subscribe to a loyalty program, and engagement, while high among older Americans (69 percent), tends to lag among young consumers (43 percent).” The analysis also indicated that among people not yet subscribed to a loyalty program, “there is a chance of winning them over with the right messaging and benefits offering.” 

YouGov also noted that among 18 to 24 year-olds, two in five (40 percent) men and three in 10 (30 percent) women report they have never subscribed to a loyalty program. “The reasons behind this are likely complex: their life stage suggests less experience with money and less exposure to loyalty programs overall,” the firm noted. 

Among loyalty programs, the most popular seems to be supermarket loyalty programs, which have a 65 percent penetration among people who belong to at least one loyalty program. The second most dominant sector proves to be pharmacies (56 percent), likely driven by programs such as CVS ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards and Walgreens Balance Rewards, the research firm said

What Americans Are Doing About Microplastics

By Staff
Thursday, August 15, 2019 7:00 AM A survey for Statista by YouGov has revealed that only 52 percent of adults in the U.S. have heard of microplastics. The issue, which has been troubling environmentalists in recent years, has been garnering more attention in the media, with headlines such as “Microplastics are raining down from the sky”, or “There’s no getting away from microplastic contamination” raising awareness. So what are the 52 percent doing to reduce the production of/contact with microplastics? 

Our survey revealed that the most common action is recycling (more) plastic products. Next up, almost 30 percent say they now try to avoid buying food in plastic packaging, while a similar amount of people also try to avoid consuming drinks from plastic bottles.

About Three-In-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are ‘Almost Constantly’ Online

By Andrew Karp
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:00 AM As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, 28 percent of American adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019. Overall, 81 percent of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 28 percent who go online almost constantly, as well as 45 percent who say they go online several times a day and 9 percent who go online about once a day. Some 8 percent go online several times a week or less often, while 10 percent of adults say they do not use the internet at all. Adults with mobile connectivity are especially likely to be online a lot. Among mobile internet users—the 86 percent of Americans who use the internet at least occasionally using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device—92 percent go online daily and 32 percent go online almost constantly.

Preparing for 2019 Holiday Shopping

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:00 AM The holiday shopping cycle is becoming a year-round phenomenon. As Elizabeth Timmis, director, content marketing for digital media and marketing agency Stella Rising pointed out in a recent article, with Prime Day now a July fixture, brands are seeking to engage the increasing number of year-round holiday shoppers who shop this way, whether to stretch out purchases or feel less stressed during November and December.

Timmis recommended that brands need to recover quickly from July sales and amp up their Q4 efforts, adding that the 2019 holiday retail season presents a paradox: higher anticipated sales in a shorter period. “This year will likely be a mad rush for those brands that do not get ahead of the game or solely bank on the Thanksgiving through Christmas period,” she said.

Packing for a Trip Takes on a New Meaning

By Andrew Karp
Monday, August 12, 2019 8:00 AM Data journalist Niall McCarthy of Statista reported last week that TSA agents discovered that a passenger had a rocket launcher in his checked baggage in Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. He was identified as a member of the U.S. military returning home from Kuwait and the non-functional rocket launcher was a souvenir from his time spent in the Middle East. 

But rocket launchers are not the only weapons passengers are packing. Authorities found a record 4,239 firearms at U.S. airports last year, a record high, according to McCarthy. The Transportation Security Administration released the data, adding that 86 percent of the guns were loaded at the time of discovery while 33.7 percent had a round chambered. On a weekly basis, an average of 81.6 firearms were intercepted at U.S. airports last year. The number found has been rising steadily since records began in 2005. Back in 2007, only 803 guns were found in carry-on baggage, quite a difference compared to more than 4,000 today, McCarthy reported.

Study Finds One-Third of Consumers Will Drop a Brand After One Bad Experience

By Staff
Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:00 AM A new study conducted by Oracle finds that people are upset and disappointed by the experiences brands are providing. The study, which Oracle conducted in partnership with Customer Bliss, includes insights from more than 1,100 U.S. consumers across four generations. It found that 43 percent of people “blacklist brands that fail to meet their expectations and that a lack of trust in brands is making it increasingly difficult to influence purchasing behavior,” according to an announcement by Oracle about the findings.

“Relationships between brands and consumers begin when a customer has faith in a company and that trust must be constantly earned – it cannot be bought and can be easily lost," Customer Bliss founder Jeanne Bliss said in the announcement. "As this study shows, consumers are attracted to brands that go the extra mile to deliver personalized experiences and are willing to take decisive action when their expectations are not met. The key takeaway here is that one size doesn't fit all and if you invest in customer experience, your customers will invest in you.”

According to the findings, a majority of consumers (82 percent) have had an experience with a brand that is disappointing or upsetting, and more than three quarters of consumers (78 percent) say they have had an experience where they were not satisfied with the customer service provided.

Work Demands and Schedule Often Interfere With Eating Well, WIO Pop-Up Poll Says

By Staff
Thursday, August 8, 2019 8:00 AM Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-Up Poll said that they eat well most of the time. Another nearly 21 percent that they do about half of the time, and 15 percent they eat well less often than they'd like to. Just about 17 percent said that they eat well all of the time. 

A number of factors contributed to why respondents did not eat well at least part of the time. Overwhelmingly, 65 percent said that their work schedule demands were an interference. Other top responses were that participants were too tired to cook (44 percent), lack of inspiration (38 percent) and their kids'/family schedule (28 percent). Those who took the poll shared a glimpse of what their regular meals look like throughout the week. The dominant response of 80 percent was that they ate home-cooked with fresh foods, followed by prepared/frozen meals (7 percent) and takeout eaten at home (7 percent).

Trust and Mistrust in Americans’ Views of Scientific Experts

By Staff
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 8:00 AM In an era when science and politics often appear to collide, public confidence in scientists is on the upswing, and six-in-ten Americans say scientists should play an active role in policy debates about scientific issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey finds public confidence in scientists on par with confidence in the military. It also exceeds the levels of public confidence in other groups and institutions, including the media, business leaders and elected officials.

At the same time, Americans are divided along party lines in terms of how they view the value and objectivity of scientists and their ability to act in the public interest. And, while political divides do not carry over to views of all scientists and scientific issues, there are particularly sizable gaps between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to trust in scientists whose work is related to the environment.

Optometry Equipment Market in Numbers

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 8:00 AM Market research firm Fact.MR has issued a report on the global market for optometry equipment. The detailed report includes profiles of key players. Here are some topline findings: The global market for optometry equipment was valued at $3.8 billion in 2018.
• Optometry equipment market revenues are likely to witness a moderate 4 percent increase during the period of assessment, i.e. between 2019 and 2029.
• Over the course of the decade-old projection period, the market for optometry equipment is expected to gain $2 billion incremental opportunity.
• Ophthalmic diagnostic equipment is envisaged to remain top selling ophthalmic equipment category, with sizeable revenue shares in global market.
• A majority of global market revenues are accounted by North America and Europe.
• Hospital OPDs are likely to remain top end users of optometry equipment through 2029.

Diagnosing Opportunity in Health and Wellness

By Staff
Monday, August 5, 2019 3:05 PM Health and wellness represents a huge opportunity for consumer goods companies. However, Robin Sherk, director, consumer & retail for the research firm CB Insights argues in a recent article that many companies need to adjust the way they are approaching the category.

“To truly capitalize on this multi-trillion dollar opportunity, we need more than this simplistic health and wellness framing, which glosses over the range of consumer demands and pockets of opportunity,” Sherk said. She suggests looking at the following six “lenses” across consumers’ health and wellness demands.