Product usage polling expanded, PDAs included for the first time

Supplementing its 2002 Interim Report, NADbank recently released its product and lifestyle data for 2002, including detailed information on the shopping habits, product usage, media preferences and lifestyle characteristics of Canadians.

Supplementing its 2002 Interim Report, NADbank recently released its product and lifestyle data for 2002, including detailed information on the shopping habits, product usage, media preferences and lifestyle characteristics of Canadians.

This year, information on ownership and potential purchase of personal electronic devices (PDAs such as the Palm Pilot) was included for the first time. The survey shows that of the 9% of Toronto adults who own a PDA, 64% read a newspaper daily. Moreover, newspaper readers are 26% more likely to own a PDA, and 9% of adult newspaper readers are likely to buy one in the next 12 months.

‘In general, the data underlines how much consumers read newspapers to retrieve information on products and services in addition to editorial content,’ says Toronto-based Anne Ruta, executive director of NADbank.

For example, the report shows that of the 70% of adults who own a camera, 55% read a newspaper daily and 56% read a newspaper on Saturday.

This year’s survey showed daily newspapers as the medium of choice in several categories when Canadians were looking to purchase cars and real estate, searching for entertainment and vacation destinations, or make investments.

‘The incorporation of financial data is wonderful – the Print Measurement Bureau (PMB) doesn’t contain nearly as much on the media habits of investors,’ says Mariam Hoosen, VP/print investment director at the Toronto office of Starcom Worldwide. ‘These people tend to spend money.’

The study’s highlights reveal that of the 31% of adults who plan to purchase a new vehicle in the next 12 months, 57% read a daily newspaper; and of the 85% of adults who took a personal vacation in the past three years, 55% read a daily newspaper.

In individual million-plus population markets, the study indicates that adults who have taken a vacation in the past 12 months are strong daily newspaper readers, with Calgarian readers vacationing the most (78%) and Montrealers the least (60%).

While the data is unquestionably useful, finding it may not be as easy; the report is huge. ‘Putting out highlights is tricky because what we stress may be irrelevant to some,’ says Ruta. ‘Media buyers and marketers may have to look deep in the report for what really applies to them – but the data is so varied that it’s likely there.’

One of the key strengths in NADbank’s product usage study is that data can be evaluated on an individual market or daily newspaper basis, not just nation-wide – meaning that information can be as useful for a mom-and-pop operation as it can be for large chain stores.

Also expanded this year were questions on personal and health-care products purchased in the past year by newspaper readers.

Describing the utility of having a source to identify specific consumers – right down to what section of the paper they read, Mark Sherman, president of Toronto’s Media Experts, noted that ‘demographics over-simplify reality. Now we can describe consumers by the things they actually have in common – like a PDA or scotch drinking.’

The readership survey, conducted by phone poll, measured 66 daily newspapers in 46 urban markets. Product data was gathered using a mail-back questionnaire in 19 urban markets and collected information on 28 different product categories.

‘We look at what interesting products and services are new in the market and, if the sample is big enough and the product is advertised in newspapers, we add it to the survey,’ says Ruta. ‘We have to be careful though; every time we lengthen the questionnaire, the costs go up and response rates go down. Every year we change and create a relevant balance.’