Advertising inserts still work, retail study finds

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 8, 2006

Advertising insert readership levels are consistently at 85% or above, and web-savvy consumers still rely on them, as 88% of Sunday newspaper readers surveyed via the web say they read the inserts, while 79% of those surveyed by telephone say they read them, according to the 'Customer Focus 2006: Retail' study from Vertis.

The study found that consumers use advertising inserts of all forms to help decide where they shop or to learn about available segments. More specifically, 52% of those surveyed by phone and 71% of those surveyed via the web said they use the inserts to decide where they buy groceries. Additionally, 29% of those surveyed by phone and 41% surveyed via the web use inserts to decide where to shop for health and beauty care products, while 28% and 39% respectively use them for office supply decisions.

Key findings
Other findings from the study provided insight into the purchasing trends and importance of advertising inserts across a variety of retail sectors:

  • 77% of women aged 18-34 do the majority of the household's grocery shopping;
  • Since 1998, the percentage of women aged 18-34 reading grocery inserts has increased 14 percentage points;
  • These women tend to like discount stores, and have shown an interest in the grocery stores' ethnic and organic departments;
  • Since 2004, the percentage of adults planning to purchase a computer has grown seven percentage points - greater than any other product category surveyed;
  • One of the fastest growing groups who plan on purchasing a computer is women aged 35-49, rising 10 percentage points since 2004; these women also show a greater interest than the average adult in special financing offers for home electronics, such as delayed credit card payments;
  • 40% of women aged 35-49 said advertising inserts influence their overall buying decisions, while television only influences 20%;
  • Women aged 18-34 are an important demographic for furniture retailers, as 33% of these women said they plan to purchase bedroom furniture, 26% plan to purchase bedding and 24% plan to purchase living room furniture. When these women were asked about their last furniture purchase, lowest price was the greatest consideration for 39% of them, increasing nine percentage points since 2002; meanwhile, highest quality dipped seven percentage points since 2002;
  • The percentage of women aged 18-34 turning to the internet first when ready to make a purchase has increased from 19% in 2004 to 27% in 2006;
  • The percentage of "do-it-yourselfers" has grown nine percentage points since 2004, as Americans are increasingly more willing to take on home improvement projects. Specifically, this group has grown most with women aged 35-49, growing 12% in two years;
  • 73% of women aged 35-49 who read ad inserts compare similar home improvement inserts before heading to the selected store;
  • Of all the age and gender groups surveyed, women aged 50 and older had the highest average prescription purchases per month (4) for their households - making them an important target for pharmacy retailers. Moreover, 33% of these women said advertising inserts were the number one medium that influences their general purchase decisions, followed by 20% who said newspaper advertisements influenced purchase decisions.

Customer Focus is Vertis' annual study that tracks consumer behaviour across a variety of industry segments (including home improvement, furniture, grocery, sporting goods, home electronics, optical, insurance, credit cards, non-profit, financial, retail, office supplies, and discount stores) and media (including advertising inserts, direct marketing, and the internet).

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