financial services

Resolutions May Benefit Financial, Tech Segments

Financial services providers are among those that could benefit from probable New Year’s Resolutions.

A study from local market consumer research firm Scarborough reveals some of the likely New Year's resolution topics for the over 235 million American adults age 18 and older.

Many marketers use New Year’s resolution campaigns this time of year to motivate consumers, but it is definitely not too late for those who have not yet capitalized on the opportunity, says Deirdre McFarland, Scarborough vice president of marketing:

"According to our research, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the areas of fitness, finance and technology, so marketers can use the concept of the New Year’s resolution to keep their customers motivated throughout the year," McFarland tells Marketing Daily. "Additionally, since the nature of social media is more of a dialogue relationship, social campaigns can be a much more sustainable marketing tool. By listening to customers’ needs and concerns, marketers have the ability to shift the focus of their social campaigns based on immediate consumer feedback.”

There are six major categories for New Year's resolutions as determined by Scarborough: voting, financial, technology, fitness, education and eco-friendliness. Scarborough defines the different generations as Gen Y (age 18-29), Gen X (30-44), Baby Boomers (45-64) and the Silent Generation (65+).

Financial resolutions are perennially popular, according to the New York-based research company. Only 22% of American adults say they live in a household that has a 401(K) plan and 20% have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). In addition, 67% have a savings account and 86% have a checking account.

There is ample opportunity for the 14% of American adults who have none of these financial services for their household to set a financial resolution. Some 57% of the Silent Generation say they have a savings account for their household, while Boomers ranked highest for having a checking account (84%) or an IRA (23%).

Becoming more technologically savvy is also a popular resolution. Thirteen percent of American adults live in a household that plans to purchase an eReader, HDTV or smartphone in the next 12 months. A technology resolution, with a focus on commitment to learning new platforms, would bring the two older generations up to speed with their younger counterparts, according to Scarborough Research.

Baby Boomers are 13% less likely than all American adults to plan to purchase an eReader, HDTV or smartphone in the next 12 months, and the Silent Generation is 61% less likely to do the same.

Fitness is an area that is revisited annually by resolution-makers. Despite this enthusiasm for fitness, only 20% of American adults belong to a gym. In the past 12 months, 77% of adults said they were not runners or joggers and 91% did not do yoga or Pilates.

2012 is not only a new year, it is also an election year. Since 19% of American adults assert that they never vote in presidential elections, 2012 is a prime year for Voting Resolutions to be made. Generationally speaking, Gen Y and Gen X represent the biggest opportunities for a change in voting behavior, as 34% and 21% respectively say they never vote in presidential elections. For comparison, 72% of all American adults say they always vote in presidential elections.

When it comes to education, 6% of American adults plan to return to school in the next 12 months and 26% hold a college degree or higher. Gen Y was the generation most interested in returning to school in the next 12 months (17%). In addition, Gen X had the highest percentage with a college degree or higher (34%).

Another area in which American adults may want to challenge themselves in 2012 is in eco-friendly activities. Thirty-four percent of American adults do not recycle glass, plastic or paper on a regular basis, and 83% do not buy organic food.

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