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Centers, Faculty, Local business, Newsroom

Gearing up for Christmas Shopping Already? UST Survey Optimistic on Holiday Spending Sentiment

The findings of the 11th annual University of St. Thomas Holiday Spending Sentiment Survey were released today. Equipped with 11 years of research data, University of St. Thomas marketing professors find the mood of holiday shoppers is close to pre-recession levels.

This survey has been conducted in late October since 2002 and provides more than a decade’s worth of longitudinal data on Twin Cities holiday shopping trends. The survey measures the intent of Twin Cities shoppers: how much they think they will spend for holiday gifts, what they will spend it on, and where they will spend it. The research is conducted by Dr. Lorman Lundsten, Jon Seltzer and Dr. John Sailors of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.

Key findings this year:

  • This year’s predicted household spending for holiday gifts, $773, compares to $703 last year and $680 in 2010.
  • Based on survey responses and the population of the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the researchers predict that metro-region shoppers will cumulatively spend just over $1 billion this year, up 9.3 percent from last year’s predicted $915 million. This year’s predicted spend is the highest in the 11 years of the survey; the previous high was $959 million in 2004.
  • As for where shoppers plan to buy gifts, shopping malls remain popular — accounting for about half of all shopping — but they gave up some ground to non-mall stores and to the Internet. Target and Macy’s were clear winners and tied for first as specific retailers named by respondents, followed by Best Buy, Herberger’s and Kohl’s.
  • The top gift this year: cash.

 

The relative popularity of 14 major gift categories: Continue Reading

biztube, Media, Newsroom

BizTube: Market Research

All I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from YouTube

This video has been overtaking my life in recent weeks, thanks to the many friends I have on Facebook who see fit to post it with various and supporting exclamations. Once again, YouTube, the source of all knowledge, has taught me an important business principle. In this case, the video is a great example of what not to do.

The creators of the video introduce it as an ethnographic market research project, though they don’t call it that, attempting to determine if men and women can be “just friends.” However, I noticed significant flaws in their research methodology in this video. Continue Reading

FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

For whom the survey polls

survey-checklist

In a restaurant, in a hotel, on the Internet – almost anywhere – we are constantly invited to take surveys.  Sometimes we take them, but we think “What is this for?”

In our ABR (Applied Business Research) course, we have learned that an essential part of business research involves collecting data that can be quantified and analyzed using statistical techniques in order to arrive at a description of our target population. This means that if we, for example, wish to know the average level of satisfaction customers feel about our services or products, we need to design a tool to collect that information and transform it into numbers. This tool is a survey, and it is the final piece of our ABR project.

During the past two weeks, each team in the class has designed a survey for its clients. Each survey is, of course, unique and depends on our client’s main objective. In my team’s case, our client (Best Buy) wants to know its customers’ perceptions of a new concept. So our team has combined several techniques that allow us to build a random set of questions for each respondent that weight the importance of different attributes related to this new concept. After several revisions, we finally finished it and will e-mail it to a sample of Best Buy customers in the hope that they will take a few minutes of their time to help us gather the data we need.

So next time you receive a survey, just take a few seconds to think about all the work that is behind that set of questions. Also remember the contribution you will be making to the organization – helping them understand your needs much better. So please complete the survey!