BEAUTY CARE

SymphonyIRI study: Greater consumer confidence not loosening purse strings

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Consumers’ confidence in their personal finances is returning to levels seen in first quarter 2011, according to SymphonyIRI Group’s latest MarketPulse survey, released Friday. But while confidence remains high, the same consumers remain frugal.

“Americans have certainly been on an economic roller coaster ride for the past few years, so it is no surprise to anyone that they will not forgo their frugal ways even though they may feel a bit more confident about their bank accounts,” stated Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends at SymphonyIRI. “They are opening their wallets a bit more these days, but they are still making lists and clipping coupons, so the key for [consumer packaged goods] marketers is to demonstrate the value of their products to consumers.”

Consumers’ confidence about their personal financial situations is rebounding in first quarter 2012, after slipping in the second and third quarters of 2011 and inching up slightly at the end of last year. Today, 19% of consumers feel their financial position has improved during the past year; 40% feel it has remained unchanged; and 41% feel it has deteriorated. While these are not glowing statistics, it is the most optimistic outlook seen since last year, SymphonyIRI noted.

According to the MarketPulse survey:

  • 28% of consumers in first quarter 2012 expect improvement in their personal finances during the coming year versus 33% in first quarter 2011;

  • 46% feel the same about their personal finances today versus one year ago; and

  • 26% of consumers in first quarter 2012 expect their personal finances will deteriorate during the coming year versus 20% in first quarter 2011.

Regarding shopping behavior:

  • 71% of shoppers in first quarter 2012 are still making shopping lists at home versus 67% in first quarter 2011;

  • 56% of shoppers in first quarter 2012 are choosing stores based on lower prices offered versus 52% in first quarter 2011; and

  • 62% of shoppers in first quarter 2012 look at store circulars before entering the store versus 56% in first quarter 2011.

In addition, consumers leveraged a wide variety of tools in first quarter 2012 to find the best value:

  • Retail websites: 7%

  • Internet searches: 9%

  • Couponing: 42%

  • Retail circulars: 49%

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U by Kotex Sleek tampons, CleanWear pads make national debut

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark has expanded its U by Kotex portfolio to include two new products.

The U by Kotex brand, which was launched in 2010, now includes U by Kotex Sleek tampons — which feature a first-of-its-kind Perfect Touch Grip applicator that is soft, smooth and slim to provide an easy hold for "just right" placement — and U by Kotex CleanWear pads, which have a MemoryFlex core that keeps its shape and fits closely with a woman’s curves, thus improving flexibility, Kimberly-Clark said. The nationwide launch will be supported with an integrated marketing program, including television and print advertising, direct-to-consumer online communications, consumer sampling and in-store support

"Protection is a fundamental need in the feminine care category, yet up to 50 percent of young women experience product leakage and just accept it," Kotex North America marketing director Claire Miller said. "These innovative new products are easy for use, provide unique fit, and deliver serious protection to help women feel confident and prepared."

U by Kotex Sleek tampons and CleanWear pads will be available nationwide this month.

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P&G posts Q3 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble on Friday announced a decrease in third-quarter profit, as sales rose 2%.

Net sales during the quarter rose 2% to $20.2 billion. Organic sales rose 3%.

Net earnings totaled $2.41 billion, or 82 cents per diluted share, compared with $2.87 billion, or 96 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

In the company’s beauty segment, net sales rose 1% to $4.8 billion on unit volume growth of 1%. Organic sales grew 2%. Net earnings rose 3% to $523 million.

In grooming, net sales were in line with the prior year at $2 billion. Unit volume rose 1% and organic sales were up 2%. Net earnings slipped 4% to $398 million.

In February, P&G unveiled a larger than expected cost-savings program that involves cutting a total of 5,700 nonmanufacturing jobs in an effort to trim costs by the end of fiscal 2016. The move is part of a new plan to cut costs by $10 billion through fiscal 2016.

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