Monday, August 22, 2011

Grassroots Market Research

I spent this weekend helping a local university welcome its freshmen onto campus; I actually got stuck assisting with traffic control and getting cars unloaded and moved as quickly as possible from in front of one set of dorms.  

Nothing like some real grassroots market research to say the least!  

Out of over 1,000 freshmen there was only one PC off loaded; everyone else had laptops and about 900 of those were Apple.  I Phones were popular among the kids but for the most part their parents had old fashioned cell phones and these cellphones outnumbered the I Phones by a 3 to 1 margin. 

I think that Russell Athletic and Nike need to be really concerned about Under Armour, because everyone had apparel with the Under Armour logo, while Nike held the edge in screen printed t shirts and shoes Russell was no where to be found, outside the shirts worn by the University staff.

For every case of bottled water there seemed to be a 12 pack of Mountain Dew; didn't see any Coke products at all.  I am not real sure what the logic is with bottled water but if it is for a conscious health reason then the amount of poor snack choices really overwhelms whatever benefit one could derive from drinking water.

Not real sure what will happen when these freshmen realize that one flat panel television and one refrigerator per room is about all that will fit; I figure between now and when school starts in a week, everyone will realize that 90% of the rooms have one television and one refrigerator too many!  Walmart and Best Buy does a tremendous business in electronics during "back to school" and Target makes a killing on bedding.

35 years ago this fall I was an incoming freshman and the biggest difference is now it takes two vehicles full of stuff to get situated in the same size dorm room where back then it took only one.  No one seems to use boxes any longer to pack anything;  its either plastic cases or just haul stuff up in the bags that the goods were purchased in; if how people pack to go to college is any sign of the future, we really will have a shortage of engineers in the future!  

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