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Retail Consolidation And the Recreational Furniture Shopper

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In the past year the mergers of retailing giants — Sears and Kmart and Federated and May department stores — have generated lots of media attention, but these mergers are undertaken for the good of the companies themselves and not for their shoppers. Just ask anyone in Chicago how they feel about their beloved Marshall Field’s becoming just another Macy’s. “Shoppers today feel nostalgia for the old days when shopping was special. You went downtown to shop in wonderful stores where the sales people really knew their products and cared about serving the customer,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need and Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses — as well as the Classes. “But shopping has changed as big retailers following the self-service model have taken over the retail landscape. As a result, shoppers are following two different tracks: necessities shopping where convenience and price are key and recreational shopping where a whole other set of rules apply. Recreational shoppers are looking for more than just buying more stuff at cheap prices. They want a fun shopping experience,” Danziger says. In a new research study of shoppers, Recreational Shopping 2006: Consumer Insights Study of the Recreational Shopper, Their Demographics, Their Shopping Choices and Their Motivations to Shop, Unity Marketing conducted qualitative and quantitative research to examine the newly emerging recreational shopper — who they are (and both men and women shop for fun); how they shop; where they choose to shop and who their favorite retailers for recreational shopping are. And most importantly, it reveals their drives, motivations and passions that incline them to look at shopping as fun. ! Retail Consolidation Means Gigantic Retailers Are Losing Touch With The Individual Customer: In the five years from 1997 to 2002, the share of retail sales attributed to the fifty largest retailers in the country grew from 25.7 percent to 31.7 percent, according to the latest Economic Census, published by the Census Department. In specific categories, like electronics and appliance stores; health and personal care stores; pet supplies; food and beverage stores; clothing and clothing accessories stores; and sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores, more than half of sales are generated by the top fifty competitors in each category. And in general merchandise stores, which includes department and discount department stores, 97.9 percent of total sales are generated by the top fifty biggest competitors. “That consolidation means that these behemoth retailers are getting further and further away from their individual consumers. With stores spread all over the country and senior executives working out of big corporate headquarters, they don’t have the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with their shoppers on a daily basis like small retailers do. It’s by getting up close and personal with their shoppers where small retailers can find their true competitive advantage,” Danziger says. “After all retailing is really a people business, not a products business.” Segments of retail where consolidation has not yet occurred and small retailers dominate include furniture and home furnishings stores, florist, gift and novelty stores, art ! dealers and non-store retailers. Retailing Is A people Business, Not A Products Business: For the future, shoppers will seek out stores that give them a thrill. “As the retail business continues to consolidate, shoppers will increasingly find sameness and uniformity in the products and services offered. When a shopper knows what to expect when she walks past a store, she has no incentive to wander in to shop unless she needs what the store offers. "But when she shops for fun, she will bypass the ordinary store in favor of a store that offers a truly extraordinary shopping experience. Retailers both big and small need to transform their stores, the products they offer and the way they do business. The new experiential retailing model is to design a retailing experience for the pleasure and delight of the shopper. Unity’s new research report will help them gain insights into the new experiential shopper, their psych! ology and what excites them about shopping,” says Danziger. About Unity Marketing’s Recreational Shopping Report 2006: Unity Marketing is at the forefront of research-based consumer insights for marketers that need to understand the mindset of the shopper. This new research study is designed to help marketers and retailers understand the shopper better, why they shop, what they shop for and what makes for a truly unique, compelling and fun shopping experience. The research results reported include insights from a series of focus groups among high-income women who love to shop. Also included is a section devoted to a discussion among owners of specialty retail stores, including a florist, gift shop owner, fashion boutique, toy store, hobby shop, t-shirt retailer and home furnishings specialty store, to gain insights into their challenges in the face of increased retail consolidation. The heart of the research study, however, is a survey among 1,250 upper-income shoppers (aged 25-to-65 years; average household income $111,800; 65 percent female and 35 percent male). The survey examines two key segments in the shopper sample: the majority (70 percent) who view shopping as entertainment, called the recreational shopper segment, and roughly 30 percent of non-recreational shoppers who provide perspective on what makes the recreational shopper truly distinctive. The results of the survey are analyzed from several key segmentation strategies, including gender; income ($50k-$74.9k; $75k-$99.9k; $100k-$149k; $150k + above); generations (Millennials; GenXers; Boomers; Swing); age (25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 years) and recreational shopper/non-recreational shopper segments. Details about shopping gathered in the survey include: Necessities Shopping (i.e. shopping for basic household necessities such as food, clothing, household cleaning, prescription drugs, etc.): -Whether they are the family’s primary shopper for necessities -How often they shop for necessities -What types of stores they frequent (12 types of stores are included, see methodology for details) and which store they shop at most often for necessities -Attributes that they find most important about choosing a shopping destination for necessities shopping (20 attributes are measured, see methodology for details) -How much they spend shopping for necessities Recreational Shopping: -How often they shop recreationally -What types of stores they frequent for recreational shopping (21 types of stores are included, see methodology for details) and their favorite store for shopping fun -Attributes that they find most important about choosing a store for recreational shopping, i.e. what features they value most in a store where they shop for fun (20 attributes are measured, see methodology for details) -How much they spend monthly shopping for recreation -What categories of goods they buy for fun, including home furnishings, entertainment and recreational products, personal fashion and clothing and other goods (31 product categories included, see methodology for details) -How frequently they recreationally shop for practical things for their home, decorative things for their home, things for recreation and entertainment, things for oneself, things for hobbies -Whether they get the most fun out of browsing, buying, exploring, bargain shopping -What types of shopping destinations they favor, such as enclosed malls, strip centers, downtown shopping areas, open air lifestyle centers, tourist/vacation shopping, historic shopping, freestanding stores, artistic/bohemian shopping, and luxury shopping districts -How they define shopping, such as Shopping is…Fun; Exciting; a Mission; Something that has to be done; etc. (see methodology for details) -Attitudes and motivations that drive the shopper when they shop, including 25 attitude statements (see methodology for details) For more information or to order a copy, visit http://www.unitymarketingonline.com/reports2/shopping_retail/insights_study.html

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