Month: November 2022

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4 Food Industry Consumer Trends to Watch

  • November 16, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

4 Food Industry Consumer Trends to Watch

Grocery shopping, like many household duties on the to-do list, is something that there never seems to be time for. Also like many other aspects of modern life, consumers are looking for ever-increasing personalization and looking for ways to make the chore of grocery shopping more exciting by finding food that inspires them and gets their family to the dinner table. Here are 4 food industry trends that illustrate how consumers shop for and what motivates their decisions. 

Spending Fragmentation 

While online grocery shopping has already well-established before the pandemic, lockdown prompted many more people to turn to e-commerce for their weekly grocery shopping. A recent Food Industry Association (FMI) report found that 64 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they shopped for groceries online at least occasionally, even after the height of the pandemic. But with higher prices both in the stores and at the gasoline pumps, shoppers are splitting how they spend their money. The same report also found consumers are increasingly turning to hybrid shopping for groceries, as inflation and the price of gas continues to be a drain on budgets. In a search for both quality and value, consumers are spreading their spending across stores, with shopping clubs offering more specific shopping experiences and traditional grocery stores attracting consumers with their fresh categories, like produce and prepared foods. 

Premium Products

Even in the face of rising food prices, consumers are showing a taste for high-quality food products, and are willing to pay more for them. The FMI report shows that among the consumers who stated that they were paying more for groceries this year, 19 percent of them indicated that it was because they were buying higher-quality products. Higher-income earners and parents were the top consumers purchasing the premium products, with items like baby food, plant-based products, meal kits, and fresh, prepared foods topping the list of products that consumers are willing to pay more for. 

‘Food Rule’ Eating

Consumers have moved away from classic diets meant for weight loss and have embraced a more personalized way of eating based on food rules. These dietary guidelines influence how and where consumers shop. The keto diet, the latest version of a low-carb diet, is currently followed by 12.9 million Americans and has launched its own sizable category of products in the food industry. In addition, plant-based eating has grown in popularity, as well, with many people embracing it as an entire lifestyle, beyond just food. Clean eating has also been influential in how consumers shop. 

Ready-to-Eat Options

With busy professionals and harried parents needing to get something on the table fast every evening, prepared food is becoming increasingly popular. In 2019, grocery store deli departments sold nearly $15B in prepared foods. Grocery stores often offer items that are marketed as compliments to a meal, but consumers who don’t have time to cook are on the hunt for entrees, and it has become the fastest-growing segment in the fresh deli-prepared food category. The reopening of hot bars and salad bars after the height of the pandemic offered opportunities for grocery stores to rethink their prepared food selections and offer time-starved consumers creative, high-quality solutions for mealtime. 

Stay up-to-date on the food industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from general consumers and heads of household who make purchasing decisions on food and grocery purchases. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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The Unfriendly Skies: The Post-Pandemic Travel Mess

  • November 7, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

With summer 2022 in the rearview mirror, many travelers are already reminiscing about their summer vacations.  What they might not look back on with the same degree of fondness is the process of actually getting to their destinations. By almost every measure, traveling this past summer was a miserable and frustrating exercise. According to numbers released in August by the Department of Transportation, more than 5,800 complaints were filed by the U.S. traveling audience this past June. That is an increase of nearly 270 percent over June 2019. 

Not surprisingly, cancellations, delays, and other scheduling issues topped the list of traveling audience complaints. The holiday weekend that included Father’s Day and Juneteenth was especially trying for travelers, with over 3,000 flights canceled and thousands more delayed. Adding insult to injury, lost and mishandled baggage and difficulty receiving refunds often went hand in hand with other passenger problems this past summer. 

What is to blame for such a steep decline in the traveler experience and quality of service? COVID-19 continued to affect the daily operations of the entire airline industry. The near-total halt of airplane travel during the height of the pandemic led to layoffs and other drastic cuts in the airline industry labor force, and the airlines have struggled to recover. The rapid increase in travel that followed the end of lockdown left airlines unprepared for the numbers of the traveling audience who were tired of being stuck at home. Staffing shortages all around led to the cancellation of flights, delays, and lost luggage that marred the beginnings of many summer vacations. Pilots and flight attendants pushed back on their overburdened workloads by striking different points throughout the summer, with votes for future work stoppages still underway. 

Another layer of the traveling audience’s litany of complaints is the increased number of incidents of disabled passengers being left on planes, having their wheelchairs damaged while disembarking, or even being injured while traveling. The operational problems that continue to plague airlines only add to the anxiety and humiliation that many in the disabled travel audience face when they enter an airport, as some of the overworked airline staff are not properly trained to tend to the needs of disabled passengers. 

Fortunately, there is a path for recourse for those travelers who have had their vacation plans scuttled by a canceled or delayed flight. In what has become a tried-and-true way to get a company’s attention with a complaint, many passengers turned to social media to express their dissatisfaction with airlines.  The bandwagon of shared negative experiences is one that disgruntled customers in the traveling audience are all too eager to jump on. The increased number of travel audience complaints mentioned earlier noted by the Department of Transportation led them to step in and confront the airline industry about their operations and help consumers get refunds as a result of canceled or delayed flights. 

Read more about the travel industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers in the travel audience. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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Making Space For Black Women in the Beauty Industry

  • November 7, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

As one of the most lucrative sectors in the business landscape, the U.S. beauty industry is estimated to be worth $49 billion in 2022. With so much money in play and a constant overabundance of products on shelves, Black women have a historically difficult experience finding products to suit their needs. This isn’t due to a lack of spending power, however. According to a recent study by McKinsey, the Black female audience spent $6.6 billion on beauty products in 2021, making up about 11 percent of the entire U.S. beauty market. For scale, the total Black audience representation in the United States is 15 percent. If there is an industry that is wide open for opportunities to capture the Black female audience, it is the beauty space. 

On average, Black women report a higher rate of dissatisfaction with makeup, skincare, and hair care products than the non-Black audience. Retail deserts in predominantly minority audience neighborhoods also mean that Black women have to travel further to find the products that have earned their loyalty. These disparities have led Black entrepreneurs to take matters into their own hands and launch their own beauty brands, specifically crafted for the Black female audience. Beauty trailblazer Eunice Johnson launched Fashion Fair cosmetics in 1973, offering Black women options in makeup that they had never had before. The cosmetics, and the associated advertisements in Ebony and Jet magazines, helped celebrate the beauty of the Black female audience in a way that had not been done before. The lack of true representation in advertising as a whole continues to be a problem across all industries. 

Another aspect that has continued to keep the scope of beauty products for the Black female audience so limited is the lack of top executives at major beauty companies. The previously mentioned report from McKinsey found that only 2.5 percent of employees at top beauty companies are Black. The same study took a quick snapshot of the C-suite at Revlon USA and found that only 5 percent of the employees at the director level and above are Black. This has led more Black entrepreneurs to launch their own brands, often succeeding in the face of more challenging headwinds than their white counterparts when it comes to raising capital for their companies. Recently, the market has exploded with product lines from celebrities, like Iman and Rihanna. Rihanna’s line, Fenty Beauty, launched in 2017, boasts 40 different shades of foundation, a benchmark that was quickly adopted by Dior and Revlon, in order to try and grab their own share of the Black female audience who had been there the entire time, just waiting for their turn to be seen.

The social upheaval of the summer of 2020 found many companies under the spotlight for their lack of representation in their top roles, and retailers were held to account for the dearth of Black-owned products on their shelves.  15% Pledge, founded by fashion designer Aurora James, aims to get retailers to dedicate 15 percent of their shelf space to Black audience-owned brands. Companies like Target and beauty giant Sephora were among the first to commit to supporting Black-owned product lines. 
Read more about the beauty industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers in the beauty space. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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3 Ways America Can Get More EVs On The Road

  • November 4, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91.5 percent of U.S. households own at least one car, meaning that higher gas prices have affected everyone, across all income levels and socio-economic classifications. This past March, the price of gas reached its highest level in American history, sending shock waves through the economy.  With California passing a law prohibiting the sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035, and gas prices still higher than usual, there has been a renewed push toward electric cars. America lags behind other countries when it comes to EV adoption, but there are three things the U.S. can increase its use of EVs and do its part to slow the pace of climate change. 

Education

The number of electric cars on the road in the U.S. grew from 16K to 2 million in 10 years, pointing to a slow and steady trend toward more environmentally sound vehicles but the numbers are not ticking up fast enough to meet the challenge. The car owner information gap around electric vehicles is partly to blame for keeping the American car-buying audience on the sidelines when it comes to whether or not to buy an electric vehicle. One concern that those who might be considering purchasing an EV have is whether it would be more expensive than a gasoline-only car. A recent survey found that 53 percent of American car owners would not be willing to pay even $500 more for an electric vehicle. The truth is that as with any car, the true cost of ownership comes from everything associated with maintaining the vehicle and fuel costs, not the actual purchase price. A targeted campaign by the federal and state governments to educate the public about electric cars could highlight the fact that EVs cost about 40 percent less to maintain than traditional, gas-powered vehicles. 

Establish a Nationwide Network of Charging Stations

One of the challenges that immediately faces the U.S. push for EV adoption is the details surrounding how and where car owners can charge their vehicles.  61 percent of American car owners surveyed in a recent Consumer Reports study stated that the major obstacle keeping them from making the leap to EVs is the logistics around charging them. Many electric vehicle owners are able to charge their cars at home, but there are currently more than 45,000 charging stations around the country, with more than 500K coming across the nation, thanks to a new set of standards recently announced by the Biden administration. More than enough for a strong head start and to help alleviate the worries of the traditional car owners who still need to be convinced to switch to an electric car. 

Cash Incentives for Purchasing an EV

As mentioned earlier, cost remains a primary concern for prospective EV buyers. The Consumer Reports survey found that among the respondents who stated that they were not planning to buy an electric vehicle, 52 percent of them listed costs as the reason that was most front of mind. Offering car owners cash towards a new EV could be highly motivating. Other countries, especially those in Europe, have had success with offering subsidies for both the purchase of a new electric vehicle and for the installation of at-home charging stations. In fact, European countries represent seven out of the ten countries in the world with the highest percentage of EVs on the road.  In the U.S., making electric vehicles more accessible to traditional car owners can be done by expanding the federal tax credit, currently at $7,500, through the Inflation Reduction Act. 
Read more about the automotive industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from automobile owners. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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