Spring to It

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Spring is just around the corner. And as sure as there are April showers and May flowers, it will blossom with opportunities for marketers. That's the message from this month's exclusive survey for American Demographics conducted by Edison, New Jersey-based market research firm Bruskin Research.

The survey suggests that spring offers a unique window for marketing diet and fitness products, beauty treatments, car maintenance, and home improvement items, as well as many others goods and services. And experts say that if marketers time it right, there is the potential for a flurry of sales.

According to our survey, some 30 percent of Americans will try to get in shape or lose weight in anticipation of spring. Thirty-nine percent of the youngest set — those aged 18 to 24 — say they'll jump on the fitness bandwagon before the season rolls in, as will 37 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds. Only 28 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 17 percent of those aged 65 and older say 'tis the season for physical activity. But Northeastern-based fitness and health marketers take note: A full 39 percent of residents in your part of the country say they plan to shed some of their winter padding before spring, significantly more than any other area in the country.

Even those who don't have a new body in time for spring will pamper the one they have, the survey shows. In fact, 32 percent of Americans say they plan to shop for warm weather clothing, and 10 percent plan to get a beauty treatment or a tan to get ready for the coming season. The major clotheshorses seem to be in the Midwest: 37 percent of those residents, more than in any other region, will take a trip to the mall for some new digs before spring. Nationwide, women are more than twice as likely as men to purchase a new outfit (43 percent versus 20 percent), and nearly eight times as likely as men to schedule an appointment at the salon (17 percent versus 2 percent). Adults aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 49 are also more likely than the average American to stop by the beauty parlor (15 percent and 14 percent, respectively).

Work Your Body

Thirty-two percent of all Americans say they'll shop for warm weather clothes to get ready for spring.

ALL 18-24 25-34 35-49 50-64 65+
Go shopping for warm

weather clothes
32% 36% 40% 34% 23% 27%
Get in shape or

lose weight
30% 39% 37% 31% 28% 17%
Get a beauty treatment 10% 15% 10% 14% 8% 4%
Source: Bruskin Research

Spring Cleaning

Sixty-four percent of Americans say they're planning some work in the yard this spring.

ALL 18-24 25-34 35-49 50-64 65+
Work outside in the yard 64% 47% 64% 73% 71% 55%
Indoor household cleaning 56% 55% 60% 55% 58% 50%
Car maintenance 29% 35% 31% 27% 37% 21%
Source: Bruskin Research

While many Americans will put energy into improving their physical appearance, more of them will spend time sprucing up their home. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents report that they have some indoor household cleaning planned for the next few months, and 64 percent say they plan on doing some outdoor gardening or lawn care project.

Women will bear the brunt of work inside the home (66 percent of women plan indoor spring cleaning, compared with 46 percent of men), while the guys will be paying their dues in the yard (67 percent of men plan outdoor home care, compared with 62 percent of women).

Yard work is not as popular among the young, however. Only 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds plan to get down and dirty outside this spring. But those aged 35 to 49 and 50 to 64 will turn out in droves with rakes and shovels in tow: 73 percent and 71 percent of these groups, respectively, plan to do work outside the home this spring.

Those with annual household incomes of $50,000 or more are the most likely to do work in the yard (73 percent). Yet, surprisingly, they're the least likely to reach for a mop or a broom. Only 52 percent of this group have indoor cleaning plans.

Since winter weather also takes its toll on the family wheels, 29 percent of Americans say they will have some maintenance work done on their car this spring. Mechanics in the Northeast, get ready: 41 percent of residents there plan to take their car into the shop, more than any other region.

So when will winter couch potatoes morph into spring consumers? It seems everyone has a different idea of when the season begins. In fact, while 34 percent of Americans believe that spring starts in March — the month that calendars tell us it officially arrives — the lion's share of Americans (49 percent) say that for them, the big warm-up doesn't begin until sometime in April. A modest, but notable, 10 percent don't acknowledge the arrival of spring until May.

Not surprising, geography affects people's perception of the advent of the season. The bulk of those celebrating spring in the month of March are from the South, with 40 percent of residents in that region naming it as the month spring arrives. But in the Midwest, spring doesn't arrive until April, when 58 percent of the population there says it does. By May, most people in the country have let go of winter, but 15 percent of those in the Northeast will still hold out until then before finally acknowledging that old man winter has left the building. Marketers, take note: Spring may be a lucrative season — if you can figure out when it's going to sprout.

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