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Consumers continue to plan ahead before shopping

BY HBSDEALER Staff

While fewer consumers are seeking out private-label options this year, preplanning activities continue to be a priority, according to a new survey conducted by SymphonyIRI Group.

In SymphonyIRI’s inaugural MarketPulse survey, the group found that 2-out-of-3 shoppers today are making shopping lists prior to visiting the store, while 56% are reading store fliers either before or at the store — statistics that are in line with trends noted in 2010.

What’s more, consumers are shifting back to their favorite brands, although they noted that value is essential when purchasing products. For example, 38% of consumers in 2011 are giving up their favorite brands to save money (down from 46% in 2010), while 36% of consumers actively are seeking out private-label brands to save money today, versus 44% in 2010. From a price standpoint, 64% of respondents said price has become a more important consideration than convenience in brand purchases, a six-point decline from last year. 

"An economy in transition to recovery is as tricky to navigate for CPG, retail and healthcare leaders as an economy moving into recession," said John Freeland, president and CEO at SymphonyIRI. "Some shoppers are retaining their frugal ways, others are spending more freely across the board, and others still are spending more on some types of products, but remaining tight-fisted about others. They are also re-evaluating where they purchase their products and updating their definition of value."

"This review of product and retail value proposition provides an outstanding opportunity for manufacturers and retailers willing to analyze carefully discrete shopper microsegments and understand the motivations and drivers of each,” Freeland added.

SymphonyIRI released the survey results during its Summit 2011 conference, which was held in Florida this week.

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Toro CFO to retire

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bloomington, Mich.-based Toro Co. has announced that Steve Wolfe, VP finance and chief financial officer, will retire on July 31 after 27 years with the company.

Wolfe joined Toro in 1986 as part of the acquisition of Wheel Horse Products, where he was VP finance and treasurer. Following the acquisition, he was named president of Toro Credit Co. in 1990, and became VP finance, treasurer and CFO in 1997.

"Steve has been instrumental in improving Toro’s financials over the past decade, building a strong finance organization and helping create a culture of financial discipline across the company,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. “His efforts will benefit Toro well into the future." 

Toro has begun to search for Wolfe’s successor and expects to name a successor and transition financial leadership prior to Wolfe’s retirement.

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“Green” claims confuse consumers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A survey conducted by Cone, a brand strategy and marketing firm, indicates that most consumers continue to misunderstand phrases commonly used in environmental marketing and advertising, giving products more credit than they deserve. At the same time, most Americans are willing to punish a company if they think they were deliberately misled by “greenwashing” claims.

The annual Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker found that 97% of Americans believe they know what common environmental marketing claims such as "green" or "environmentally friendly" mean. Yet their interpretations are often inaccurate, according to the researchers. More than two-in-five Americans (41%) erroneously believe these terms mean a product has a positive (i.e., beneficial) impact on the environment. Only 29% understand that these terms more accurately describe products with less environmental impact than previous versions or competing products.

But consumers also expressed a desire to learn more. Almost 60% said it is only acceptable for marketers to use general environmental claims when they are backed up with additional detail and explanation. Another 23% said vague environmental claims should never be used. And 79% want detailed information readily accessible on product packaging.

Of those surveyed, 71% said they will stop buying the product if they feel misled by an environmental claim, and more than a third (37%) will go so far as to boycott the company’s products entirely.

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T.Calistro says:
Apr-01-2011 06:34 pm

Not only are consumers
Not only are consumers confused, the whole greenwashing marketing scheme confuses retailers, dealers and even some representatives of the manufacturers making the “Green” claims! The word “Green” is following in the footprints of “Organic” such as heard in the food industry. We have become very cautious about repeating green claims spewed upon us by manufacturers for the very reasons you report in your article. Third party verification by a known and trusted entity should be required for all such claims. “Let the buyer beware” is no way to conduct business. What ever happened to creating positive experiences for the consumer?

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