Independent Research Uncovers Habits and Trends of Holiday Shoppers and Underscores Critical Role of Newspaper Inserts

MINNEAPOLIS – Oct. 6, 2015 – Star Tribune Media Co., Minnesota’s largest media company, today released the results of a comprehensive, independent survey of the shopping habits and preferences of more than 1,100 local readers. According to the study by Research and Analysis of Media (RAM), newspaper inserts are the No. 1 source of information regarding Thanksgiving and holiday-shopping specials among Minnesota consumers.

Minnesota’s motivated readers are active buyers at year-end. Seventy percent of consumers in the survey said that Thanksgiving specials from retailers can have an impact on their purchase decisions—and newspapers are the trusted source for that information for 91 percent of survey respondents (higher than the national average of 85 percent).

It’s a similar story during the longer, more intense December holiday-shopping season. Newspaper inserts are again top-of-mind for buyers, selected first overall as the main source for holiday specials by a plurality of 36 percent. Ads in the newspaper edition are the top source for an additional 15 percent, meaning newspapers are the chief source of information for more than half of all holiday shoppers, far outdistancing other sources including other forms of advertising and direct communications from retailers.

“When the holidays arrive, Minnesota shoppers unfailingly turn to newspaper inserts as a go-to source to direct their purchasing activities,” said Paul Kasbohm, senior vice president and chief revenue officer for Star Tribune, “and they do so at rates that exceed national averages. Savvy retailers can tap into this information-seeking audience to gain mindshare and compete for their portion of the consumer’s wallet during the holiday season. With so much at stake and with many advertising options, Star Tribune should be in every merchant’s marketing plan for Q4.”

Insights into the Minnesota Shopper

In other areas, the RAM study uncovered notable insights about the holiday shopping preferences and patterns of Minnesota consumers:

  • Holiday shopping starts early. 40 percent of Star Tribune readers say they plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. At the same time, another 42 percent say they won’t begin their shopping until the first two weeks of December—underscoring the importance of early and sustained promotions.
  • Minnesota consumers are more likely to shop in-store. Compared to other parts of the country, Minnesotans are much more likely to shop in-store vs. online. While 68% of shoppers nationwide say they will purchase “some” gifts online this year, 57% of Star Tribune readers say they will.
  • Department stores still rule. When listing the top store types they will shop for the holidays, local consumers cited department stores, discount retailers and specialty retailers as their top three preferred destinations. Interestingly, more Minnesotans indicate they plan to give wine or beer this year. As for gift cards, store brands remain the overwhelmingly popular choice among the 62 percent of shoppers who say they plan to give a gift card.

About Star Tribune Media Company
Star Tribune Media Company LLC is a locally owned, award-winning media company serving Minnesota and the upper Midwest. With the seventh-largest Sunday and 12th-largest daily circulation newspaper in the U.S., the most-visited local website, a range of home-delivered advertising solutions, and a popular arts/entertainment publication and mobile app, Star Tribune reaches more consumers than any other Minnesota media brand.

Media contact:
Steve Yaeger
612-673-4256 (office)
651-357-3036 (mobile)
steve.yaeger@startribune.com