What’s new July-August 2013

Fashion for Me or Them

In the last edition of e-directions, we took a look at Apparel shoppers. We noted the high proportion of females and those engaged in home duties; their leisurely approach to shopping and their longer time in centre; their willingness to travel further; their healthy cross-visitation patterns; a propensity to refuel on take-away food and in cafes; and, most importantly, their high average spend.

Since that article we’ve fielded inquiries from clients wanting to know more. So we’ve dug a little deeper into the data to look at different groups of Apparel shoppers.

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One question we ask of Apparel shoppers is whether they are buying for themselves or buying for others.

As you might expect, consumers buying Apparel for themselves adopt a more relaxed approach to their shopping trip, with 45% regarding their visit as Leisure oriented, compared with the, still high, 39% of those buying for others. Despite this, the latter group spend more time in centre. In part this shows the time required to find the right item in the desired style, colour, brand and so on, when the person you’re shopping with isn’t there.

But it’s also about the type of shopping trip undertaken, with those shopping for others engaged in more cross-visitation and cross category purchasing. While those shopping for themselves spend more on Apparel itself, those buying Apparel for others spend more on all other categories and have a higher average spend overall.

No prizes for guessing the influence of a home duties role: 25% of those buying Apparel for others are engaged in home duties, compared with 14% of those buying for themselves. Further, 51% of those buying Apparel for others live in Married/ de Facto relationships with children. Family lifestage is closely related to age, explaining the relatively low percentage of those buying for others who are under thirty. In contrast 30 to 49 year olds made up 47% of consumers buying Apparel for others. These figures all reinforce the analysis in our previous article on Apparel shoppers, highlighting the role that gender, family structure and lifestage play in Apparel purchases. It says something not just about shopping, but of women’s social roles: the very low percentage of male Apparel shoppers is even lower for those buying for others (12% compared with 15%).

And as Table 1 shows, there is a decrease in male Apparel shoppers in the 40-65 year age groups when a partner is more likely to be purchasing Apparel on their behalf. More males return to the shops at retirement age. Table 2 shows that the average Apparel spend by men below 40 years of age is actually higher than for women of the same age, but after this there is a cross over with a growing gap between men and women’s average expenditure.

Average expenditure by Apparel shoppers is fairly healthy across age groups, but there are some variations related to lifestage and maturity.

As Table 1 shows, time in centre increases with age, while there is a hollowing out of Leisure shopping in the middle age brackets as consumers’ lifestyles become busier. This coincides with significant increases in expenditure, both for Apparel and overall.

Some other age-related patterns also emerge. The group sizes of Apparel shoppers tend to decrease with age while their loyalty increases: from 47% of customers in the 15-24 year age group, through to 59% of customers over 65 years of age, recording the subject centre as their regular place for non-food shopping.

Apparel shopping is obviously a personal and subjective experience. Everyone does it a little bit differently. But there are some broad patterns here that are useful for marketers and which can inform targeted and empathetic approaches to particular demographic and age groups. For more information on Apparel shoppers or a free presentation on this material, feel free to give us a call today on 1300 138 651 . Back To Top

Shopping in the West: Going There WAy

Following considerable interest in our recent eDirections’ article on Sunday trading in Perth, we thought you might like some further information about shopper profiles in Western Australia.

Segmenting our 2013 Consumer Shopping Benchmarks by state, we can see that Western Australian shoppers are, on average, older, wealthier, more car dependent shoppers who are more leisurely in their approach to shopping.

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The percentage of shoppers in Married/ de Facto relationships with kids at just over 30% is in line with national averages for shopping centre customers as well as Western Australian demographic profiles. Couple-only households are similarly comparable. The percentage of lone household shoppers is lower than the residential average – as it is nationally – once again indicating that household size has a direct relationship to shopping activity.

Direct comparisons with other states are probably best done by centre type, so let’s have a look at sub-regionals, where we see some really interesting variations in usage patterns.

When we asked shoppers about their main reason for visiting a sub-regional centre on the day of interview, more than 18% of Western Australian customers stated that it was to conduct a main food shop – 4% higher than the national average. Higher than average rates were also recorded for banking, retail services, newsagents and chemists as main drivers of visitation. Contrastingly lower rates were recorded for clothes, shoes, homewares and food catering.

Convenience, then, appears to be an important component of Western Australian sub-regional centre usage. This is further indicated by customers’ lower than average time in centre – Australians spend, on average, six minutes less in sub-regional centres than their national counterparts, despite recording more leisurely approaches to their shopping trips.

This time is used productively, however, with higher than average spends across all categories, and a higher percentage of customers purchasing on all categories except apparel and food catering. When shoppers do purchase apparel, though, they make it worth their while spending an average of $61.23 compared with the national average of $49.87.

While Western Australian shoppers in most occupations spend more than the national average when they make purchases, traditionally high spending groups spend proportionally even more: Managers, Clerical Workers and those engaged in Home Duties far outstrip the expenditure of their counterparts elsewhere. This study shows that Western Australia is a different beast growing in a rapidly changing social and economic framework.

It makes research at a centre level even more important when designing marketing, leasing and investment strategies. In our next edition of eDirections we’ll do some further geographic segmentation, noting some interesting variations in demographic and consumer behaviour patterns in shopping centres in different states. Back To Top

Ladies Day, Every Day

We’ve noted in a number of articles recently the dominance of women amongst shopping centre customers. This is nothing new – shopping centres have always been marketed to women, particularly those in family households.

When it opened as the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere in 1966, Bankstown Square was promoted as the Housewife’s Square where it was ‘ladies day, every day.’

At the time, it was not unreasonable for the Square’s marketers to assume that a large proportion of their customers were indeed undertaking domestic and home duties roles.

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However, much has changed in one of history’s most significant social revolutions, and women now have a significantly higher workforce participation rate than they did in the 1960s.

None-the-less, women engaged in home duties still account for almost 15% of shopping centre customers. They’re also amongst the highest spenders and spend longer than average in-centre.

A number of US studies have shown that women engaged in home duties have distinctive shopping patterns and yet most marketing directed towards women tends to be generic and untargeted.

So let’s apply some focus. What is distinctive about the home duties shopper? There is obviously considerable variation within this shopping group, but we can also discern some general patterns.

Women in home duties who are shopping centre customers tend to be, on average, slightly older, living in larger household sizes, with lower average household incomes. This is all expected, although we should not assume women engaged in home duties are all mothers – over 20% live in households without children.

Visitation patterns also run along expected patterns although it is interesting to add detail to these. As Table 1 shows, women engaged in home duties are more frequent, local shoppers. They also spend more time in centre, and are more leisurely in their approach. Differences on these latter measures narrow in  Regional centres because of their destinational nature, with women in paid employment willing to spend more time in centre, and to take the opportunity to relax on a more substantial shopping excursion.

As Table 2 shows, motivations for visitation with women in employment indicate that their main reason for visiting is more likely to be for apparel, particularly at Regional centres. They’re also more likely to visit for personal services such as hairdressing. In terms of food shopping, the percentage of those visiting primarily to conduct a main food shop is fairly even across both groups, but women engaged in home duties obviously have more opportunities to duck in for top up grocery buys.

Roles and income also clearly feed into expenditure, as Table 3 demonstrates. Women in employment, having higher average household incomes, spend more on almost all categories in all centre types. This also supports focus group research we conducted last year with stay-at-home mums. We found that for these women, budgeting and getting maximum value for money was not only a practical imperative, but was emotionally and psychologically rewarding.

So while the female consumer is often treated generically in marketing campaigns, there is considerable variety amongst the 72% of women visiting Australian centres. Here we’ve looked at those engaged in home duties as one example of segmenting visitation, shopping and expenditure patterns.

If you would like some more information about either our focus group research into the current consumer mindset, or have questions about the customer profiles we are producing from our benchmark data, contact us on 1300 138 651 or email us at info@directional.com.au Back To Top

The Buzz

The value of the consumer research conducted by Directional Insights has been recognised through an article published in the International Council of Shopping Centres flagship research publication, Retail Property Insights (vol. 20, no. 1). The journal “provides state-of-the-art articles on the global retail real estate industry. Its mission is to be a must-read publication, not just for the professional researcher, but for anyone who wants a state-of-the-art perspective on retail property.”

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Directional Insights’ article provides detailed analysis of consumer behaviour in Australian Neighbourhood, Sub-Regional and Regional shopping centres. The data is drawn from our 2013 Consumer Shopping Benchmarks and provides shopper demographic profiles and comparative analysis with Census and Labour Force statistics. It details expenditure by age, occupation and time in centre, as well as providing breakdowns, by centre type, of expenditure by commodity group and drivers of visitation. You can access a pdf version of the article here

Our team is currently presenting on the data and analysis contained in this article as well as on our 2013 Consumer Shopping Benchmarks. Call now to make an appointment for a presentation on 1300 138 651 . Back To Top

Silver Service: Catering for Retirees

In a steadily aging population, catering to older shoppers is going to be increasingly important to shopping centre managers and retailers. Already retirees make up 21% of visitors to Australian shopping centres, and a survey conducted in Melbourne in 2008 found shopping centres to be one of the most frequently visited facilities for senior Australians. More broadly, 46% of Australian shopping centre visitors are 50 years of age or older.

But how well do we cater for these customers? One international study found that most retailers fail to provide older consumers with a satisfying shopping experience, possibly because of a perception that they are not big spenders.

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It’s true that some older customers do spend less, but as the chart below demonstrates, the 50-59 year, and 60-69 year age brackets are the second and fourth highest spending age groups. This makes older consumers incredibly important to the health of the retail and retail property sectors. We noted above that more than one fifth of Australian shopping centre customers are retired. This equates to over 350,000,000 visits to centres by retirees every year. These shoppers average more time in centre, are more leisurely in their shopping approach, shop more locally, and are more loyal to their home centre. They do, on average, spend less on most categories and overall, but the average total spend for customers making a purchase is still a healthy $64 a visit.

The value of older shoppers is further reinforced when we look at those in their sixties who have not yet retired. When they go to a shopping centre and make a purchase, they average over $81 a visit. In general terms, it is retirement not age that impacts on expenditure.

In the table below we’ve provided some breakdowns of shopping behaviour. You can analyse these at your leisure, but some trends do stand out: declining spend with age in retirement, even as leisure shopping, loyalty, localisation and time in centre increase. Males retain their habits in retirement, while women still appear to enjoy the shopping centre environment more. From both their shopping frequency and their expenditure, it’s clear that older shoppers make a substantial contribution to the retail bottom line. So it’s essential that we cater to their and ensure that they leave our centres and shops satisfied.

Research studies have found a range of factors that are important to older consumers: short queues, discounts, access to products, good customer service and easy parking. Sounds like a lot of us doesn’t it?

But looking at negative factors that have been identified – inappropriate shelf height, long queues, poor customer service, illegible labels and signage, and unsuitable package sizes – we start to see the reasons why these factors impact on older consumers’ shopping satisfaction.

Older people get tired more easily, so waiting in queues is not only frustrating, it can be exhausting. Poor customer service can seem disrespectful, not the way ‘things should be done’, or even a sign of decline of social standards.

Labelling and signage need to be legible – if they aren’t, those customers who can’t read them are excluded. And if customers can’t reach, find, or traverse a distance to access a product, they won’t buy it. Think shelf height, clear organisation and signage, and empathetic layouts or services to better facilitate access across the centre.

As always it comes down to understanding the customer, and meeting their needs and expectations. This is really about service. We tend to think of customer service as helpful assistance at the shop front, but it should be about creating satisfaction across the entire retail trip from pre-purchase behaviour onwards. Did we mention this requires research? Back To Top

NOTE:This is general information only and does not constitute advice nor take into account any individual’s or company’s specific requirements, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers are advised to seek specific advice. Directional Insights makes no representation nor gives any warranty as to the accuracy of future forecasts. This information is not intended as investment advice or other advice and must not be relied upon as such. You should make your own inquiries and take independent advice tailored to your specific circumstances prior to making any investment or other decision. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any conditions, warranties or liabilities implied by law into these conditions are hereby excluded. All copyright resides with Directional Insights Pty Ltd.

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