QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Do You Think You're Saving Enough for Retirement?
The bad news is old news: Many Americans are not saving enough money to fund a comfortable retirement. The good news: At least a majority of the profligates know they're coming up short. In a nationwide survey conducted for Adweek, 39.5 percent of respondents answered "yes" and 56.5 percent answered "no" when asked: Do you think you're saving enough for your retirement? This doesn't tell us whether those who confess to inadequate saving have any intention of mending their ways, but it's nice to know they aren't oblivious. The survey found no significant disparity between men and women on this issue-surprising, given the conventional wisdom that women are more financially prudent. Of course, the responses may simply mean men are more deluded than women about whether they're saving enough. As you might expect, age was a sharp dividing line. While 73 percent of the 18-24-year-olds confess they don't yet save enough, the "no" quotient drops steadily as age increases. Indeed, a slim majority of respondents over age 45 believe they are saving enough. Let's hope they're right.
Getting Their Laughs On a Daily Basis
Newspaper people are forever tearing their hair out over gloomy studies showing that young people don't read daily papers. All is not lost, though, as you can see from the chart below. Conducted by Aahs World Radio, a national radio network aimed at kids, the survey invited members of the 8-to-12-year-old set to call an 800 number with a report on their own reading habits, at least where the funnies are concerned. While editors and publishers seek ways to get young people interested in the news, that may be a pointless pursuit. What they should be doing, it seems, is figuring out ways to prevent kids from losing interest in the comics as they grow up. Even if they manage to do so, however, newspapers have no monopoly in the laughs department these days. Among the survey's respondents who have access to the Internet, 88 percent said they turn to it as a source of humor.
From Abrasive Youth To Elder Statesman
Anyone watching the U.S. Open will have seen plenty of John McEnroe, who stars in commercials for IBM and Heineken. For both clients, spots focus on his famously bad temper. And in each case, we're supposed to find him lovable, even as he smashes a beer bottle with his tennis racket or stalks off with someone's laptop computer. Under the circumstances, one almost forgets that McEnroe was once widely disliked for being obnoxious. Now, the same sort of behavior somehow qualifies as endearing, in a curmudgeonly sort of way. Has he changed or have we changed? Given the same trajectory of attitudes, it won't be long before Dennis Rodman is seen as a taller equivalent of Mother Theresa.
Be True to Your Briefs and They'll Be True to You
In a world beset by disloyalty, men are loyal to their underwear. And so are boys and girls. Anyhow, those are apparel categories in which the top three brands account for more than half of retail sales dollars, according to a study by The NPD Group. The same is true of the market for men's jeans. But the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research outfit identifies other categories in which big brands are not dominant-which means there's room for "new players" to seize market share. In the categories of women's dresses and tops, for instance, the top three brands collectively claim just 5 percent of retail dollars. Similarly, the top three brands of men's knit shirts account for 8 percent of the market. In about half of the 48 categories NPD examined, the top three brands held 15 percent or less of the market. The study found private-label goods a major presence in such categories as men's dress shirts and women's tops.
Just Give New Yorkers Half an Hour to Pack
If you're looking for consumers who might skip the country at any moment, give New York a try. A poll by Scarborough Research finds 38 percent of New Yorkers saying they hold a valid passport, the highest proportion for any major metropolitan area in the country. That's enticing news if you're a travel marketer, but a red flag if you're a bail bondsman. San Francisco was close behind, at 37 percent, with Miami/Fort Lauderdale running third, at 33 percent. Other metro areas atop the list: West Palm Beach, Fla.; San Diego; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C.
Adding Up Adweek's Classified Ads for Jobs
After a sluggish early summer, the market for jobs in advertising, marketing and media regained some vigor last month, judging by the volume of help-wanted classifieds running in Adweek. Jobs on the client side were particularly plentiful. We'll be waiting with bated breath to see whether momentum picks up as the weather cools-and whether it's evident in all regions. As it is, double-digit gains for the year-to-date are nothing to sneeze at, considering that they come atop record-setting figures in 1996.