Thanks to a new study, Aberdeen businesses now know how likely area residents are to buy Huggies Little Swimmers disposable diapers with training pants, belong to an automotive club or drink Irish whiskey.
Those facts and thousands of others are included in customer propensity reports compiled by the Buxton Co., which did a retail study on behalf of the city of Aberdeen. Lisa Hill, a Buxton vice president, detailed the survey results Thursday in Aberdeen.
The Fort Worth, Texas, company put together the Aberdeen study for $60,000. The city of Aberdeen paid $50,000 of that amount. The other $10,000 came from the Aberdeen Development Corp.
The study is meant to help businesses learn more about the people in this area, and to help them meet their needs.
One goal of the study was to identify “leakage” — business that's being lost locally by customers traveling elsewhere.
The leakage analysis in Aberdeen, Hill said, finds “gaps” in stores that sell health and personal care items, clothing and clothing accessories and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores. Those are areas where the needs of area consumers are not met by local businesses.
Hill shared the results at a public unveiling Thursday afternoon, followed by a Business After Hours mixer. Both were at the Ramkota Hotel.
The study analyzes both Aberdeen’s primary area, made up of consumers within a 15-minute drive of Aberdeen, and a secondary trade area.
The analysis breaks both the drive-time trade area and the secondary area into eight dominant segments. Each of those segments represents at least 3 percent of the area's households.
The most dominant segment of consumers in both areas belong to a group known as “working rural communities.”
A total of 22.98 percent of the households in the drive-time area are members of that group, according to Buxton. The company describes the second-largest group in the primary and secondary areas as “steadfast conservatives.”
According to Buxton, the working rural communities segment consists of middle class empty-nesting couples, middle-aged families and single seniors living in older, industrial towns skilled in blue-collar construction and manufacturing jobs.
“The empty-nesting couples who dominate working rural communities lead serene leisure lives,” according to the survey. “Many spend their free time enjoying home-based hobbies, such as gardening, woodworking and needlework.
“They reside in 40-year-old homes valued at below-average prices,” the appendix reads. “Their inexpensive housing allows their middle-class incomes to go far in these predominantly Midwestern towns,” Buxton said.
“Their plans for a big night is dining at a local restaurant, going to an antique show or playing bingo,” Buxton said. People in working rural communities are financially conservative and many drive traditional, American-made cars and trucks.
“These middle-of-the-road consumers are not big shoppers, tending to make a lot of their purchases — clothes for themselves, toys for their grandchildren — at discount department stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart.”
They are media traditionalists, Buxton said. They read magazines that have been around for decades and listen to golden oldies and traditional country music on the radio. “To get the day's news, they rely on newspapers and have yet to discover the Internet.”
Steadfast conservatives make up 11.92 percent of the households in the primary trade area. The third-largest group, which Buxton calls “small-city endeavors,” totals 8.23 percent. In fourth place are urban commuter families, which account for 7.81 percent.
At a media gathering Thursday morning, Hill used urban commuter families to describe a group in detail.
Many of these upscale, college-educated households contain dual-income couples who put in long hours in their jobs as professionals and managers in retail, health care and education services.