Category Archives: Shopping

Super Bowl Sunday

Well, it’s almost time for the Super Bowl! Who do you think will win? Do you even care who wins?? I know many just like to munch on wings and chips, and watch the commercials and/or the halftime show. (What do you like to do on Super Bowl Sunday? Tell us about it by leaving a comment!)

As you know, the Super Bowl is big business, not just for the teams involved and the NFL, but for retailers. For instance, according to the National Retail Federation those watching the big game expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, for a total $17.2 billion.

That’s a lot of wings and things!

Note – NCP Public Service Announcement: We want to remind anyone hosting or attending a Super Bowl party – or a Kitten Bowl or Puppy Bowl party, for that matter – to record any “food, beverages, merchandise and party supplies” that you purchase.

Anyway, football is filled with statistics. So in honor of the big game, here are some super Super Bowl-related stats from WalletHub.com:

  • 17: Number of people who attend the average Super Bowl party
  • 27% of Americans plan to attend a Super Bowl party
  • 52.4% of Americans think Super Bowl Monday should be a national holiday
  • 6,000: Average calories for a football party feast
  • 1.4 billion chicken wings will be eaten
  • 10 million pounds of ribs are sold the week of the Super Bowl
  • 11.2+ million pounds of potato chips will be eaten
  • 8+ million pounds of guacamole will be consumed
  • 50%: Increase in pizza orders on Super Bowl Sunday than on the average day
  • 67% more pizza is eaten on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the average day
  • Favorite Super Bowl Foods:
    • 29% Wings
    • 26% Pizza
    • 15% Nachos
    • 14% dip
    • 7% chili
    • 6% BBQ
  • 51.7+ million cases of beer are sold for Super Bowl Sunday
  • 90% more beer is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than on an average day
  • $1.3 billion spent on beer and cider on Super Bowl Sunday
  • $597 million is spent on wine
  • $503 million is spent on hard liquor
  • 1 in 10 people will miss work the day after the Super Bowl

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the game! (or at least the commercials and halftime show.)

Best Regards,
Taylor

Holiday Season Shopping Info

Interested in finding out how other NCP panel members feel about holiday shopping? Well, we have some data for you!

But first, let me explain: NCP has been conducting an Advisory Board, with rotating members, for the past few years. The NCP Advisory Board functions as an ongoing, online focus group. Each group usually lasts two or three months, and then we start a new one, with new board members. A few times a month we’ll ask the board members to provide their opinions about a specific NCP-related topic. Our belief is that, as an NCP panelist, there’s no one better to ask about what we can do to enhance the panel.

With that said, our most recent Advisory Board group was asked about their holiday shopping experiences. (Please note: This is not scientific! It’s just a snapshot into some of our panelists’ opinions.) Here is what they said:

When do you start your holiday shopping?

  • Start before September: 16.7%
  • Start September or October: 14.3%
  • Start November to early December: 42.9%
  • Start mid-December: 11.9%
  • Start day/days before holiday: 4.8%
  • Don’t holiday shop: 7.1%

Compared with last year, how much money are you planning to spend on holiday shopping?

  • More: 15.4%
  • Same: 53.8%
  • Less: 30.8%

Did you take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping/deals?

  • Black Friday only: 17.9%
  • Cyber Monday only: 12.8%
  • Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 17.9%
  • Shopped that weekend, but not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday: 5.1%
  • Didn’t shop Black Friday, the weekend, or Cyber Monday: 46.2%

How many friends or family members do you typically shop for during the holiday season?

  • 1 – 5: 23.1%
  • 6 – 10: 51.3%
  • 11 – 15: 23.1%
  • More than 15: 2.6%

When holiday shopping, where do you get the best deals?

  • Online: 51.2%
  • In-store: 39.0%

When making holiday purchases, how do you typically pay?

  • Credit: 45.9%
  • Debit: 32.4%
  • Cash: 16.2%
  • PayPal: 2.7%

When do you typically start putting up your holiday decorations?

  • Start during November: 29.4%
  • Start the day after Thanksgiving: 14.7%
  • Start early December: 38.2%
  • Start days before the holiday: 17.6%

Do you have a favorite holiday song?

Yes: 58.6%

Songs include:

  • Silent night
  • Jingle Bells
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • Holy Night
  • Feliz Navidad
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland
  • All I Want For Christmas is You

Do you have a favorite holiday show/special that you look forward to watching each year?

Yes: 44.8%

Shows include:

  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Polar Express
  • Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
  • A Christmas Carol
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • White Christmas
  • A Christmas Story
  • Charlie Brown Christmas

Note: This particular Advisory Board contains 50 members. Numbers may not add up to 100%, due to rounding and other factors.

We hope you enjoyed reading these results. Please let us know how you would answer these questions by leaving a comment or two.

And one last thing: If you’re able to, please recycle or reuse any wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift boxes, etc. Thank you.

We here at NCP wish you a happy and healthy holiday!

Best Regards,
Taylor

All About Barcodes

Last week when I went grocery shopping, I was so tired from a long day that I just stood there at the checkout and just “checked out” the cashier scan all the items.

I thought about how interesting barcodes are. (I told you I had checked out!) All that information embedded in those lines!

Anyway, in a sad coincidence, I later found out that George J. Laurer, recognized as the “Father” of the UPC barcode, had passed away at the age of 94.

Mr. Laurer began working on the scanable digital barcode around 1970 while he was employed at IBM. The very first transaction using the barcode was done in 1974, at a Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, OH. The first product scanned was a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. That pack of gum is now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

We here at NCP certainly owe Mr. Laurer a deep debt of gratitude for his development of the scanable digital barcode. Where would we be without barcodes?

Now, for those of you who’ve been wondering what a barcode is exactly, a Universal Product Code (UPC) is a set of symbols used to represent letters or numbers. These symbols contain information such as the name of the manufacturer, product description (price, size, color, flavor), inventory quantity, etc.

Barcodes allow businesses to operate more efficiently and accurately, and they are used just about everywhere! Not only do manufacturers and retailers use barcodes, other industries such as healthcare and video stores, to name a few, use bar code technology. UPCs originate with the Uniform Code Council (UCC). The UCC issues the manufacturers and retailers a six-digit manufacturer identification number and provides guidelines on how to use it.

How does the NCPMobile App/scanner pick up the barcodes?
When you pass your Smartphone or the scanner over a barcode, the light beam from the Smartphone or scanner is reflected by the light spaces, but not the dark ones. The app/scanner receives the reflected light and converts it into an electrical signal. This signal can be “decoded” by the app/scanner’s decoder into the characters that the barcode represents. The decoded data is then passed to the computer in a traditional data format.

For the National Consumer Panel, barcodes play a key role. By scanning all of the purchases that have a UPC bar code, you provide important information about your household’s preferences. This in turn allows you to make your opinions count!

Note: I want to personally thank Elaine S., who emailed us information about Mr. Laurer’s passing away.

Remember to scan all those barcodes on your holiday purchases! (Along with your regular purchases, too.)

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Best Regards,
Taylor

Have A Happy Halloween!

On Thursday we celebrate one of the most fun days of the year – Halloween! How are you going to celebrate? Go trick or treating with your children or grandchildren? Be at home to hand out treats? Let us know in the comments section.

As you know, Halloween is a big holiday for purchasing things. So before we go any further, I just want to remind you to record all of your Halloween purchases such as costumes, decorations, and candy.

OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s do what we do best! Talk facts ‘n figures!

According to our friends at WalletHub,

  • $8.8 billion: The projected Halloween-related spending in 2019
  • 76% of Americans will spend $50 or less on/for Halloween this year
  • 68% of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year
  • 32% of Americans are throwing/attending a party
  • 44% of Americans plan to carve a pumpkin
  • 49% of Americans plan to decorate their home
  • 22% of Americans plan to visit a haunted house
  • 47% of Americans plan to dress in costumes

Speaking of Halloween costumes …

  • $3.2 billion: The amount Americans will spend on Halloween costumes this year
  • 1.3 million children plan to dress as a witch
  • 2.4 million children will dress as their favorite superhero
  • 3.1 million children will dress as their favorite princess
  • 2 million adults will dress as a vampire
  • 5 million adults will dress as a witch
  • 17% of Americans will dress their pets in costumes (most popular Halloween costumes for pets: Pumpkin, hot dog, superhero, bumble bee)

As for trick-or-treaters …

  • More than 41 million: The number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2019 (children age 5 to 14)
  • 69% of Americans plan to give candy to trick-or-treaters
  • $2.6 billion will be spent on Halloween candy this year
  • 29% of Americans plan to take their children trick-or-treating
  • 72% of parents admit to secretly eating their child’s candy
  • 85% of parents have a plan for helping their children enjoy candy in moderation
  • 68% of Americans say chocolate is their favorite Halloween treat

Finally, Candystore.com released its self-compiled rankings of the most popular Halloween candy in every state.

Candystore.com created its rankings based on 12 years of its sales data (from 2007 to 2018) with a focus on the months leading up to Halloween. The online candy seller also collaborated with “major candy manufacturers and distributors” to help determine the most popular candy in each state (and Washington, D.C.), as well as the first and second runners up. (Certain candies are more likely to be sold in bulk and, as a result, may be overrepresented in the lists.)

In addition to the top Halloween candy state rankings, Candystore.com also released a list of the most popular Halloween candy in the U.S. overall.

  1. Skittles
  2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  3. M&M’s
  4. Snickers
  5. Starburst
  6. Candy Corn
  7. Hot Tamales
  8. Tootsie Pops
  9. Sour Patch Kids
  10. Hershey’s

Most Popular Halloween Candy By State

Alabama ― Hershey’s Mini Bars
Alaska ― Twix
Arizona ― Skittles
Arkansas ― Hot Tamales
California ― Skittles
Colorado ― Twix
Connecticut ― Milky Way
Delaware ― Skittles
District of Columbia ― Tootsie Pops
Florida ― Skittles
Georgia ― Jolly Ranchers
Hawaii ― Skittles
Idaho ― Candy Corn
Illinois ― Kit Kat
Indiana ― Hot Tamales
Iowa ― Candy Corn
Kansas ― Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Kentucky ― Swedish Fish
Louisiana ― Lemonheads
Maine ― Sour Patch Kids
Maryland ― Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Massachusetts ― Butterfinger
Michigan ― Starburst
Minnesota ― Skittles
Mississippi ― Snickers
Missouri ― Milky Way
Montana ― Dubble Bubble
Nebraska ― Salt Water Taffy
Nevada ― Candy Corn
New Hampshire ― Starburst
New Jersey ― Tootsie Pops
New Mexico ― Candy Corn
New York ― Hot Tamales
North Carolina ― Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
North Dakota ― Candy Corn
Ohio ― M&M’s
Oklahoma ― Dubble Bubble
Oregon ― Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Pennsylvania ― Hershey’s Mini Bars
Rhode Island ― Twix
South Carolina ― Skittles
South Dakota ― Starburst
Tennessee ― Tootsie Pops
Texas ― Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Utah ― Jolly Ranchers
Vermont ― M&M’s
Virginia ― Hot Tamales
Washington ― salt water taffy
West Virginia ― Blow Pops
Wisconsin ― Starburst
Wyoming ― Salt water taffy

For more details, see https://www.candystore.com/blog/facts-trivia/halloween-candy-map-popular/

Let us know all about your favorite treats in the comments section.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Back-To-School Shopping

Are your kids or grandkids going back to school – or have they already started? Whether your children are young or not so young, you certainly know that the back-to-school season is one of the busiest times for retailers.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70, which is up from $684.79 last year. Overall, spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year’s $27.5 billion despite the increase in per-household spending.

Meanwhile, according to the NRF, families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17. All told, their spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

As part of our NCPulse program, we posted a video that asked NCP panel members how much they spent or expected to spend on back-to-school shopping. Most of the respondents to our survey said they spent $100 to $200 on school supplies, and some spent up to $500 on supplies and clothing for their children. 

Now, to be specific, the NRF said that clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators and phones ($203.44); shoes ($135.96) and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes ($117.49). K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53%), discount stores (50%), online (49%), clothing stores (45%) and office supply stores (31%).

Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94, 10 years ago.

As for college shoppers, the NRF said they plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by clothing and accessories ($148.54), dorm and apartment furnishings ($120.19) and food items ($98.72). They plan to do most of their shopping online (45%), followed by department stores (39%), discount stores (36%), college bookstores (32%) and office supply stores (29%).

Remember: If you do any back-to-school shopping, please record these purchases! Many of these items are sold as multipacks. Please refer to the FAQs section on ncponline.com if you have questions about recording multipacks.

Also, be on the lookout for the next NCPulse video – this one is focused on the end of summer and Labor Day.

Speaking of Labor Day, the Panel Support Center will be closed on Monday, September 2.

I hope you have a nice, relaxing weekend.

Best Regards,
Taylor