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Consumer Confidence

Consumer Confidence

]> Wal-Mart may have seen declining sales the beginning of the holiday season, but it's still making inroads with consumers. Some 18.3 percent of

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Wal-Mart may have seen declining sales the beginning of the holiday season, but it's still making inroads with consumers. Some 18.3 percent of 230 respondents said Wal-Mart (including Sam's Club) was their new favorite retailer in 2006, according to a TNS phone survey conducted on behalf of License!. Target and Kohl's followed with 9.1 and 8.3 percent, respectively. Wholesale clubs Costco and B.J.'s collectively were cited by 4.3 percent of respondents, the same number that chose Macy's. Dollar stores (including Dollar Tree, Dollar Store, and Family Dollar) earned marks from 3.9 percent, while Best Buy and Circuit City garnered votes from 3.9 and 1.7 percent, respectively. Some 3.5 percent named Home Depot and Lowe's, collectively. JCPenney and Belk each earned the affections of 1.8 percent of consumers. Other retailers mentioned included Cold Water Creek, Zumiez, Crate and Barrel, Boscov's, and Brooks Brothers. Two respondents mentioned the Internet (one specifically saying amazon.com.)

When asked what new brands these consumers discovered in 2006 that are now their favorites, a laundry list of answers came up. Numerous consumers cited Coca-Cola, Emerson, Samsung, Trader Joe's, Target private-label items, HP, Dell, and Levi's. Other brands mentioned included: Breyers, Van Heusen, Whirlpool, Wrangler, Panasonic, Hitachi, Arizona, Captain Morgan, Dockers, Moxie, Kenmore, Haier, Motorola, Bud Light, Mudd, Kendall Jackson, Baby Phat, Nike, Dannon, Fisher-Price, Frigidaire, Sharp, Haggar, Gerber, Kirkland (Costco private label), Compaq, Jenn-Air, Mattel, Hermes, Naked Juice, Smirnoff, TomTom, Philips, Dawn, Rachel Ray, Mary Kay, Toyota, Purina, True Religion, Starbucks, Gain, Sears, and Hamilton.

If you thought kids were hard to please, listen to this: Some 33.4 percent of respondents said "none" when asked what 2006 kids' product was most innovative, and 28.1 percent said they didn't know, according to a TNS phone survey of 500 consumers conducted on behalf of License!. Of the toys License! suggested (T.M.X. Elmo, Bratz Forever Diamondz dolls, Tamagotchi Connection V3, Cranium Mega Fort, Speed Stacks, and Verticon), the giggling, knee-slapping Elmo was the most popular, chosen by 12.1 percent. More women—16.7 percent—than men—6.8 percent—cited the red monster as did those in the 18-to-34 age range (14.4 percent), the under $25,000 income range (18.7 percent), and Northeast region (16.6 percent). Black respondents were slightly more enthusiastic about Elmo than whites (16.6 percent vs. 12.7 percent). Bratz Diamondz followed with 4.6 percent.

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