Monthly Archives

April 2014

Teen Internet Use Spikes

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Teens now spend more than four hours a day online, and their Internet use is growing at a much faster pace than adults, according to research from GfK.


In the past year, time spent online by teens (ages 13-17) rose an incredible 37 percent. In comparison, online minutes stayed relatively flat among people over 18—and even among younger adults aged 18-49.


Teens today are rarely offline. They spend hours on smartphones, tablets, Internet-connected TVs and videogame consoles, and they use these devices to watch videos, buy and stream music, shop online and interact with video-gaming friends.


“Teens are not only accessing the Internet more—they are also leading the way in using it via different platforms,” said Robert DeFelice, Vice President on GfK’s Media and Entertainment team.


Five years ago smartphones and tablets were too expensive for parents to buy their teens, but that’s not the case anymore. GfK found that more than half (55 percent) of teens now own smartphones, a huge leap from 35 percent just a year ago. Tablet ownership among teens doubled from 18 to 37 percent in the previous year.


Tablet use is especially on the rise among teens, spiking 157 percent in the past year to more than a half hour per day. Smartphone use was up 72 percent to more than an hour per day.


“But one shouldn’t discount PC use among teens; it remains a major factor in time spent with the Internet,” DeFelice said.

Retail Rebels, With a Cause

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Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker may have the formula dialed in for selling to Millennials.


Buck the mainstream—and look cool doing it.


Nearly 7 in 10 Millennial shoppers want to buy products from companies that disrupt the status quo. This according to Ypulse, which outlined five lessons from 2013 about selling to 18- to 34-year-olds, a group with a growing pocket book.


“Millennials are on the brink of outspending their Boomer predecessors, and will be the dominant group in purchasing power by 2017,” Ypulse writes.


While they’re highly brand aware, younger adults—and especially men—seek to shrug off the mainstream culture they grew up in. They’re way of fighting “The Man” is to seek smaller brands that help them change the world with their everyday purchases.


Warby Parker takes a Tom’s shoes-style approach by donating a pair of glasses for every pair they sell. It makes for a richer company story, and gives younger buyers the opportunity to be activists without taking to the streets like their Boomer parents.


More than the pretense of a price tag, Millennials value authentic style—and affordability. Again, Warby Parker wins by removing brick-and-mortar from the equation and offering designer looks at affordable prices.


“Brick and mortar isn’t going anywhere, but it is certainly going to have to adapt to a world where buying online is starting to make more sense to many buyers,” Ypulse writes.

Social Networking Generation Gap

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While Facebook still dominates the social space, people of all ages are branching out to other social networks, according to Pew Research. Overall, three quarters of online adults use social networking sites, and 42 percent of them use multiple social sites like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Women continue to be heavier users of most social networking sites, the study shows. Compared to men, they are four times as likely to be on Pinterest (33 to 8 percent) and outrank men on Facebook (76 to 66 percent).  Women are slightly more likely to use Instagram than men (20 to 15 percent).


There’s also an age gap with trendier social sites. Younger people prefer Twitter and Instagram, and there’s a large overlap in these user bases. About a third of online 18- to 29-year olds use Twitter and Instagram, as compared to fewer than 20 percent of 30- to 49-year olds.


Pinterest users have a slightly smaller age gap, with 27 percent of 18- to 29-year olds using the picture-posting site, versus a quarter of 30- to  49-year olds. Among people over 50 who use the Internet, only about 10-15 percent of online adults over 50 use Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.


Why Retailers Want Mobile Shoppers

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Not all online shoppers are created equal, and retailers should avoid a singular approach to get consumers to click and buy.


According to research from Millward Brown, the device a shopper uses—smartphone, tablet, or computer—reveals a lot about his path to purchase.


The big fish is the mobile shopper. Using smartphones or tablets, these people visit retail sites an average of six times before making a purchase—twice as often as people who shop from their computers. This means there are twice as many chances to convert sales—or lose them—on a mobile device.


Smartphone shoppers are the most click-happy. On their journey to make a purchase, they hit search engines, social sites and coupon sites at around twice the rate of tablet users and in some cases three times the rate of PC users. The biggest gap is social media: about a quarter of smartphone users visit social sites before making a purchase, but fewer than 5 percent of PC users do this.


While online product research is becoming the norm, it’s not all “show-rooming.” Six in 10 online shoppers research products at home. Tablet users are more likely to do this, while smartphone shoppers consult their devices more often while in stores or wherever they have a free moment.

Viewers of Funny Videos Double

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Make ’em laugh. Now more than ever, it’s a proven formula for a successful online video.


The number of adults who watch humorous videos online has nearly doubled since 2007, according to Pew Research. While comedic (57 percent) and how-to (56 percent) genres lead the pack, just about every video genre is getting more views across the population. Among adults who go online, nearly 8 in 10 watch or download videos, 10 percent more than in 2009.


“The increasing popularity of social networking sites and the proliferation of cell phones have helped spur the growing online video culture,” Pew writes in the study.


Half of adults watch videos on social networking sites, and that number jumps to 57 percent among people under 50.


And they’re not just passive viewers, they’re also content creators, thanks to the ease of posting videos to social networks with mobile devices. Men and women aged 30-49 are just as likely today to post and share videos online as 18- to 29-year-olds, which is double the rate of people over 50 (18 percent).


When it comes to genre preferences, a few patterns emerge. Men, not surprisingly, are more likely to watch sports videos (49 versus 23 percent of women), political videos (40 versus 30 percent) and adult videos (25 percent versus 8 percent) online.  Younger adults aged 18-29 are two to three times more likely to watch online comedy videos, music videos and animated videos.

The Brilliance of Paternity Leave

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Prince William took two weeks when his son, George, was born. So do men at most Fortune 500 companies today. And fathers in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island now can take four to six weeks—paid.


As paternity leave becomes normalized across U.S. culture, evidence is mounting that it’s good for everybody involved: dads, babies, companies—but especially moms, as Liza Mundy writes in an Atlantic article Daddy Track: The Case for Paternity Leave.


Here’s why. Men who take paternity leave go on to participate more in the household—changing diapers, reading bedtime stories and waking for late-night feedings long after their paternity leave is over. Research shows that when men share these repetitive chores, women are less likely to decrease their work hours or become depressed.


Of course, paternity leave is good for dads, too. This despite evidence that it may dampen future career earnings, according to a recent study conducted by Scott Coltrane and written up in a subsequent article in the Atlantic.


“Although the magnitude of the earnings loss proved to be greater for women, we found that men who reduce their work hours or take time off for family reasons were also likely to experience lower earnings over the course of their working lives. In other words, taking time off for family carries financial risk for men, just as it does for women,” Coltrane writes.


But it’s not all about money. Men who are granted paternity leave tend to enjoy the benefits of a happier home life, more flexible workplace and better work-life balance. It can even increase male life spans according to research from Sweden, where 80 percent of men take long paternity leaves.

Meet the Millennial Male Influencer

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A small but influential group of millennial men is setting trends and shaping the purchasing behavior of their peers, according to a study by CraveOnline Media and comScore and reported in MarketWatch.


The study found that 1 in 7 men aged 18-34 identifies himself as an “influencer.” A self-described tech geek, he’s the first to read blogs, share trends and buy the latest products. He’s also ravenous for online content and three times more likely to share that content than his peers. He has disposable income, and may spend 2 to 5 times more on a product he loves.


“Not only are the likely to exhibit loyalty and advocacy for the brands they like, but they also open their wallets,” says Justin Roy, of comScore.


All in all, the millennial male “influencer” is an advertiser’s dream. With 89 percent ad recall, they’re three times more likely to take action from an advertisement.


Where can marketers find these men? Consuming topics online that they’re enthusiastic about. The influencers are three times as likely to be on “enthusiast” sites that cover one topic in depth, as opposed to sites that cover many topics.


The study suggests that funny, informative and interactive ad campaigns on these sites will reach concentrated numbers of these younger men who love to buy, try and share new products.

Brands Reveal a Man’s Secrets

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Peek into a guy’s medicine cabinet and you just might find out what kind of man he is.


According to a new dating book called “Brand Guys,” the products a man buys speak volumes about what kind of person he is. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, one of the authors describes how the book groups men into “types” based on brands they’re loyal to.


“With guys, it’s really all about how they love specific things and that defines them,” says Bill Vernick, who wrote “Brand Guys” with fellow marketing expert Claire Farber. Compared to women, men are much more fiercely loyal to brands and hesitant to try new ones.


The book details ten “brands” of men such as Bud Guy, NikeGuy, Q-Tip Guy, Tom’s of Maine Guy and Mac Guy. For instance, Q-tip Guy is meticulous and punctual, and has a set of rules he lives by. Nike Guy is active and competitive, while Toms of Maine Guy is a do-gooder, sometimes to a fault.


Understanding what “brand” of guy a woman is dating, the authors say, can help her know whether he’s a good match.


“The idea is to help women understand certain aspects of what makes a certain guy tick, and the implications that might have for their relationship,” Vernick says. “We’re just trying to make the dating process a little less complicated.”


Does all this chalk up to sexist generalizations about men? Vernick acknowledged there were some worries about that.


“We had a lot of guys read the manuscript, and they’d start off with doubts, but once people saw that every category of guy has positive traits, they were fine with it.”

How Adventure Helps Men Grow

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There’s something undeniably romantic about the solo outdoor adventurist whose only support team consists of his backpack. The lone man in nature culturally bears connotations of bravery, adventure, solitude, autonomy…all of which are wrapped in a bundle of masculinity.


But what about the not so solitary man in the wilderness? What exactly do we think about groups of men in nature? Here’s where we bring in Steve Dubbeldam, founder of Wilderness Collective, an organization that encourages men to seek outdoor adventure. We met Steve during our collaboration with Danner Boots, part of which included participating in Wilderness Collective’s three-day Mt. Baker mountaineering expedition.


“Aspirational adventure is the key to becoming a great man,” Steve explains. “Adventure provides a context for growth.”


The act of doing something so simple as getting to the top of a mountain is one way that men can find some solace from the crushing cycles of the commute-work-commute-eat-sleep that so many American men have taken up.


There’s something different about the discussions that happen over a campfire from those that happen over drinks at a bar. It is exactly this change of scenery, both literally and figuratively, that creates a new space for meaningful introspection and growth. It is this opportunity for introspection and growth that opens new doors for what it means to be masculine. These trips create an atmosphere where the stereotypical tropes of masculinity (physical strength, bravery, being stoic) are outweighed by the importance of openness, contemplation and personal connection.


As we know from our recent Acumen study, today’s man feels the need to seek a range of “little adventures” that reaffirm his masculinity. Such adventures can range from the physical to the gastronomical, and serve to push one’s self outside of one’s comfort zone and assert one’s masculinity.


The irony here is that while the trips that Wilderness Collective provide seem to be perfect examples of those “little adventures,” men gain something beyond some primitive sense of their own manliness. While aspirational adventure may be the most marketable feature of these trips, their real value lies in how men are finding better connection with themselves and those they share the experience with.


Excerpted from “Men Explore Outdoors, Themselves w/ Danner and Wilderness Collective by Claudia Camerino, Hunter Qualitative Research, November 25, 2013.