Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here – and you don’t even have to be Irish to celebrate!

One of the fun things I like to do with my family is prepare a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal, which for us is corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. (Of course, my husband and I may have an adult beverage or two!)

Here are some fun facts about the day:

  • The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 33.1 million people, or 10.4% of all U.S. residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2014. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million).
  • Going out to celebrate? There are plenty of places to go. According to the Census Bureau, in 2013 there were 235,701 full-service restaurants and 41,582 drinking places (bars and taverns) in the U.S.
  • According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 125 million plan to celebrate the day and are expected to spend an average of $35.37 per person. Total spending is expected to reach $4.4 billion.
  • There are many ways to celebrate. According to the NRF, 82.1% of those who responded to a survey said they will wear green to show their Irish pride, 31.3% plan to make a special dinner, 28.7% will head to a party at a bar or restaurant and 21.1% will attend a private party. In addition, 22.8% plan to decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme.
  • According to the NRF, 56.5% of those celebrating will purchase food and beverages, 28% will buy apparel or accessories, 23.3% will buy decorations and 17.2% will buy candy.

As you can see from my avatar, I’m certainly in the spirit! I hope you enjoy the holiday, too. But remember to be safe in whatever you may do.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s Almost Daylight Saving Time

On Sunday, March 13, at 2 a.m., we turn the clocks ahead and that means, among other things, more daylight in the afternoons. But it also means one less hour of sleep. I’m tired just thinking about it!

Here are some other things to think about when it comes to Daylight Saving Time.

  • It’s actually “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.” (I learned this as soon as I started looking up information for this blog.)
  • Two states, Arizona and Hawaii, don’t observe daylight saving time.
  • Daylight saving time was first used during World War I, to help to conserve fuel. The thinking was that using daylight more efficiently saves fuel and energy because it reduces the nation’s need for artificial light.
  • About 70 countries around the world observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • According to a University of Colorado at Boulder study, there is an increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents the first six days after the clocks spring ahead.
  • There’s a spike in heart attacks during the first week of Daylight Saving Time, according to studies. Scientists have speculated that the loss of an hour’s sleep may make people more susceptible to an attack. When Daylight Saving Time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.

Daylight Saving Time also means spring is around the corner. For many, that means it’s spring cleaning time! So, we want to know your opinion about spring cleaning. Be on the lookout for a Just For Fun survey regarding your spring cleaning habits.

Have a great day!

Oscar Night!

Last week I talked about how much I was looking forward to watching the Oscar broadcast. Well, it certainly was an interesting broadcast.

Nielsen reported that this year’s broadcast had 34.4 million viewers, which declined by about 8 percent from last year’s telecast. This was the lowest-rated Oscars in eight years, according to Nielsen, and the third-lowest since Nielsen began tracking viewership in the mid-1970s.

Did you watch the broadcast?

You may remember that we were running an Oscar promotion, where we asked you to select who you thought would win in several categories. (FYI: We’ll be awarding points to those who participated in the next day or two.) But I wanted to reveal how you, our panelists, voted for each category. Check it out! (Winners are in bold.)

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence 43.3%
Cate Blanchett 26.1%
Brie Larson 19.1%
Saoirse Ronan 6.3%
Charlotte Rampling 5.2%

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio 60.9%
Matt Damon 23.8%
Michael Fassbender 6.6%
Eddie Redmayne 5.0%
Bryan Cranston 3.8%

Best Supporting Actress

Kate Winslet 41.3%
Alicia Vikander 20.3%
Jennifer Jason Leigh 14.9%
Rachel McAdams 14.1%
Rooney Mara 9.5%

Best Picture

The Revenant 48.9%
The Martian 19.4%
Bridge Of Spies 9.3%
Mad Max 5.6%
Brooklyn 4.7%
Big Short 4.7%
Spotlight 4.1%
Room 3.3%

Very interesting results, don’t you think? Thanks to all who participated.

Have a great day!

Hooray For Hollywood!

I really like watching movies, so I’m really looking forward to this Sunday when one of my favorite awards shows will be broadcast – the Oscars! I’ll be tuning in early for the red carpet preview to see what everyone is wearing!

I haven’t had a chance to see many of the nominated movies, because I’ve been busy with work and family life. But, I’m still interested in finding out who wins an award.

Last year’s ceremony, according to Nielsen, was watched by 37.3 million total viewers, which was the lowest-rated Oscars telecast since 2011. But it still ranked as the No. 4 most-watched program and the No. 1 entertainment program of 2015.

According to Nielsen, the highest-rated Oscars show of all time was the 1998 ceremony, when one of my favorite movies, Titanic, won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture. That year 55.25 million viewers watched the show.

The average cost of a 30-second ad during Sunday’s Oscars telecast is between $1.9 million and $2 million, according to Kantar Media. Those numbers are significantly larger than the average cost of a spot during last year’s Grammys ($942,000) or Golden Globes ($577,000).

Hope you get a chance to see the show. It should be interesting!

Have a great day.

A Brief History Of NCP

I haven’t been here at NCP too long, so I was curious about the history of the company. You may not know how long the panel has been around and how it got started. So let’s take a closer look at one of our parent companies and see what happened and when!

1923: Arthur Charles Nielsen, Sr., establishes the ACNielsen Company.

1933: Nielsen starts measuring and reporting drug store and retail store sales.

1934: Nielsen starts measuring and reporting food and department store sales.

1935: Nielsen invents the concept of “market share,” defined as the size of the “shopping pie” a manufacturer’s or retailer’s sales represent.

1963: Nielsen starts measuring and reporting discount mass-merchandiser store sales.

1977: Nielsen introduces scanning of UPC barcodes to measure retail sales.

1980: National Scantrack Service is introduced, which collects UPC barcode information from retail stores, then sells that data to manufacturers.

1987: Nielsen introduces National Electronic Household Panel, featuring hand-held scanners used by household members to record all UPC-coded purchases. (This is the forerunner of the Homescan Consumer Panel, which became NCP!)

1990: The first survey is mailed to panelists.

2003: Nielsen introduces online survey opportunities to their consumer panel members.

2004: Nielsen introduces Homescan Online, the first Internet measurement service that creates a direct link between off-line purchase behavior and online surfing activity. This is now known as NCP Connect.

2010: The Nielsen Company enters into a joint venture with another leading consumer insights provider, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) to form the National Consumer Panel.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief history lesson.

Have a great day!


Celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and I hope you celebrate the day. I’m a hopeless romantic, so this is one of my favorite holidays! So share the love on Valentine’s Day with friends and family and treat them special on Sunday – and every day!

Since Valentine’s Day is traditionally a gift-giving day, I thought I’d share some interesting information.

According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day-related spending is expected to reach 19.7 billion this year, compared with around $18.9 billion in 2015. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $146.84 on flowers, jewelry, candy, apparel and more, compared with $142.31 last year. (These figures include purchases for significant others as well as friends, family members, and even pets!)

More than half of the U.S. population celebrates Valentine’s Day by purchasing a greeting card, with 141 million Valentine’s Day cards being exchanged annually, according to Hallmark.

Want to buy your Valentine some candy? Well, there are more than 3,300 confectionery and nut stores in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The estimated value of chocolate and cocoa product shipments for manufacturers was $14.9 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, nonchocolate confectionery product manufacturing had an estimated value of $9.3 billion in product shipments in 2014.

What about buying flowers for your loved ones? Perhaps you could go to one of the more than 14,000 florists’ establishments nationwide.

Need to find some jewelry for your Valentine? It shouldn’t be too hard to find something nice at one of the more than 23,000 jewelry stores in the United States. In February 2013, these stores sold an estimated $2.5 billion in merchandise, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, and remember if you buy flowers, candy, or clothing, you can record these purchases, even if they don’t have a barcode. If you have a scanner, use the Barcode Reference Booklet. If you use the NCPMobile App, use the onboard Non-Barcoded Items Listing. (Note: If you have the white scanner that you have to hold up to your phone’s mouthpiece to make transmissions, you do not have the Barcode Reference Booklet.)

Have a great day!

It’s Almost Super Bowl Time!

Hi, there!

The Super Bowl is this Sunday. When I think of the Super Bowl, I think of great commercials and eating lots of tasty food at a party. I know, some people actually watch the game and care about who wins. But that’s the great thing about the Super Bowl, why it has become such a national attraction. There’s something for everybody.

According to The Nielsen Company, last year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched televised event in U.S. history, as more than 114 million viewers tuned in. (By the way, for the past two years, women have made up 47% of the TV viewing audience.)

Even if you don’t like football, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. I know I’m really looking forward to the halftime show and seeing Coldplay, Beyoncé, AND Bruno Mars!

Remember, if you’re purchasing anything for a Super Bowl party or something just to have while watching the game at home, whether it’s chips and dips, wings, an adult beverage, or anything else, please make sure and record your purchases!

Here are some interesting statistics, courtesy of The Nielsen Company:

  • In 2015, Americans spent $2.54 billion on popular snacks in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl

That included:

  • $1 billion on salty snacks
  • $53 million on deli sandwiches
  • $12.6 million on vegetable trays (nice to see some people eating healthy!)

When it comes to adult beverages:

  • Americans spent $1.2 billion on beer in the two weeks leading up to 2015’s Super Bowl.

Now this statistic makes me laugh:

  • With all that snacking, sales of antacids rose 4.5% in the week after the Super Bowl, compared with an average week.

It’s important that you record everything you buy, because our panel members’ food preferences were reflected in the statistics above.

Don’t forget our Oscar promotion. I hope you made your selection for Best Actress and also sent us your purchase information! Early next week, be on the lookout for an email with a survey for the next category, Best Actor.

Enjoy the game!

And The Winner Is …

Hi everyone!

The snowstorm here in the northeast is finally behind us, thank goodness! With temps averaging in the 40’s this week, I am hoping the snow will melt soon and that will be it for the season (I know, I have high hopes, lol)

February is almost here and, as a movie lover, I am looking forward to the upcoming Academy Awards show. Guess what? NCP has its own Oscar promotion coming up! I’m so excited about it!

We’re rolling out the red carpet for you, our panelists. You’ll be the ones predicting who will win the Oscar in some of the major award categories, and you will be a winner, too!

Here’s a preview …

Each week, for four weeks, we’ll ask you to pick who you think will win an Oscar in a few select categories.

• If you select the Oscar winner for that category, and you transmit that week, you’ll earn an additional 1,500 points!

• If you don’t select the Oscar winner, but you do transmit that week, you’ll still earn an additional 1,000 points!

Gift points will be awarded after the Academy Awards presentation, which is scheduled for Sunday, February 28.

For the first week of the promotion, the category will be Best Actress. You will make your prediction by answering a survey included in the email you receive.

So panelists, make sure you check your email inboxes early next week for the promotion details!

I would love your feedback on this promotion once it gets rolling. Just email me at news@ncppanel.com. Make sure to use the subject line “NCP Blog.”

Good luck!

Reward Yourself With NCP’s Rewards+

Brrr … it’s cold here in the Northeast, and we have an impending blizzard on the way, ugh! Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for news about any closings and check your message center on the NCP website, too!

Speaking of cold weather, who wants to go out shopping when the wind chill is below zero? Not me, that’s for sure! Shopping from home is one of the great conveniences we have and what better place to shop then on our NCP Rewards+ site! Are you familiar with Rewards+ (“Rewards Plus”)?

NCP Rewards+ is a marketplace where members can purchase discounted products and services from a wide variety of participating merchants. You can save on travel, clothing, jewelry, movies, and more. This is a special bonus program that is separate from regular panel membership.

Here are some details about the program:

  • This is a free program: There is NO COST to join and NO ANNUAL FEES. The only money you spend is on your own discounted purchases!
  • Your NCP panelist gift points are completely separate from the “Wow Points” you use/earn in the NCP Rewards+ program and will never be used for NCP Rewards+ in any way.
  • When you enroll, a separate email will be sent to you from “NCP Rewards [cs@affinityperks.com]” with your account info and instructions for logging on to the marketplace site.
  • To be eligible, you must be an actively participating panel member with a valid email address on file.
  • The account emails (mentioned above) will typically be sent on Tuesdays, so depending on when you enroll you may have to wait until the following week to receive it.

Looking for something for your Valentine? Well, check out Rewards+ for special offers!

Not yet a member of NCP Rewards+? Click here to get in on the savings.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this blog, let us know! Just email me at news@ncppanel.com. Make sure to use the subject line “Suggestions.” Thank you.

Have a great day!

Didn’t Win Powerball? Maybe You’ll Be One Of Our Sweepstakes Winners!

Did you win last night’s Powerball sweepstakes? I know I didn’t! Hopefully you had more luck. 🙂

I read that the odds of winning last night’s $1.5 billion drawing were just one in 292.2 million. Well, NCP can give you much better odds than that!

All panel members who scan their purchase information and transmit the data to us at least once a week are eligible for all of our sweepstakes – and we have a lot of them!

This year we reworked some of our sweepstakes, so here is some information about them.


Remember, to receive credit for transmitting, you must do one of the following:

  • Transmit your shopping data to NCP at least once a week
  • Make a “won’t be shopping” or “no shopping this week” transmission during the appropriate week (see scanner instructions)
  • Notify NCP that your scanner is not functioning properly
  • Notify NCP that you will be unavailable to transmit due to vacation, illness, or other circumstances

Be on the lookout for additional special sweepstakes and promotions that run at various times throughout the year.

As you can see, you have much better luck winning one of our sweepstakes! No going to the store for a ticket … you just need to scan and transmit every week and you’ll earn your entries.

Have a great day!