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Archive for August, 2011


Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

There have been significant changes in the way people connect to the Internet in recent years – and PRimage always keeps apace with these trends, for our communications insights and for our client projects.  So, Judy Viitanen has been reviewing the new statistic released today in the National Statistics Opinions Survey on how British consumers/individuals access the Internet and why.  

It’s great news to know that19 million households in Great Britain now have an Internet connection! This represented 77 per cent of households, up from 73 per cent in 2010.  The data is fascinating – and very encouraging for everyone like PRimage who do work in the social media arena.  Judy and the PRimage team are especially interested in the insights that the data reveals as to extent to which young people communicate via social networking.

These stats are really valuable in that they give the most up-to-date picture yet of the growing role mobile is playing in the digital divide: 45 percent of the Internet-using population has taken to mobile devices to go online in the past year. And PRimage believe that the rise in usage among 16-24 year-olds is most impressive: 71 percent today are using mobile devices to go online, compared to 44 percent only a year ago. In the last 12 months, six million people accessed the Internet for the very first time on their mobile phones.

The figures also highlight how much smartphones and advanced feature phones, combined with low-cost data plans and WiFi, are transforming how the internet is consumed. It looks like the UK is standing out as one of the leaders in this sense.

PRimage also follows trends in the US in this area, and we have noted that although it’s not a 100%, like-for-like comparison, but as a point of reference, comScore has recently released data that showed that in the U.S. some 41 percent of consumers used the mobile web browsers on their handsets in the last three months.

Our PRimage comms work covers a lot of messaging and marketing on social media sites, so we were not surprised to see that social networking proved to be the most popular activity among 16 to 24 year old Internet users in 2011, with 91 per cent saying they took part in social networking on websites such as Facebook or Twitter.  

However, we were encouraged that this was not an activity limited to the younger age groups, with almost one fifth (18 per cent) of Internet users aged 65 and over – indicating that they participated in social networking. In our view there’s a lot of opportunity to max this! Overall, social networking was more popular among women, at 60 per cent, than men, at 54 per cent.

Men were more likely to participate in professional networking over sites such as LinkedIn in 2011, with 16 per cent of male Internet users having used this online facility compared to just 9 per cent of women. It was most popular among those aged 25 to 34, with 18 per cent using these sites.

Other key stats of interest include:

  • Using the Internet to sell goods or services, for example via auction sites such as eBay, saw large growth in 2011. Over 12 million people, at 31 per cent of Internet users, sold goods or services online, compared to 7.9 million (21 per cent) in 2010. Just under half of those aged 25 to 34 (45 per cent) used the Internet for this activity.

In 2011 almost half of Internet users connected to the Internet, using a mobile phone, while away from the home or office. There were 17.6 million mobile phone Internet users in 2011, representing 45 per cent of Internet users, compared to 8.5 million users (23 per cent) in 2009.

  • Just over one in five (21 per cent) Internet users made telephone or video calls online in 2011. This activity is one which is not dominated by a specific age group, with older age groups showing similar patterns of use to the younger age groups. Of those aged 65 and over, 17 per cent used this technology, compared to 22 per cent of those under 24.

Overall, the UK has some 37.7 million Internet users at the moment. That means that nearly 17 million of us have used our mobile phones to access the mobile internet.

  • Other “mobile” devices such as laptops and tablets are also making a big impact: 38 percent of people say they have used these kinds of devices to access the internet. That’s on top of mobile phone usage, by the way.
  • WiFi is big: usage of hotspots has doubled in the last year to 4.9 million users (13 percent of internet users).
  • People over the age of 65 are the least likely to use a mobile to access the internet—only eight percent of internet users in that age group have used mobile devices to do this. (A market opportunity?)
  • In terms of what it is that people are doing when they go online, it looks like social networking is a key driver of usage. Among adults, 57 percent say they have used social networks online, compared to 43 percent a year ago. Among that much-coveted demographic of 16-24 year-olds, the number is amazingly high: 91 percent. To compare to the comScore, in the U.S., around 30 of mobile phone users in the country used their devices to access social networks.

GB Household Internet Usage

Year Per cent  
2007 61  
2008 65  
2009 70  
2010 73  
2011 77  
Base: All GB households    
 Household Internet  
type, GB, 2007 and 2011  
Year Broadband Dial up
2007 84 16
2011 93 2
Base: All GB households    

The use of wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots also increased markedly with 4.9 million people using hotspots at hotels, restaurants, airports etc., compared to 0.7 million people in 2007.

Housing crisis in UK – ‘generation-rent’? PRimage comment

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

PRimage had just been reading a new report released today on the crisis in the UK housing market – which forecasts that home ownership in England will slump to just 63.8% over the next decade.  The National Housing Federation report also forecasts steep rises in the private rental sector and a house price boom. It blames the bleak outlook on an under-supply of homes in the UK.

So, for the UK it looks like we are heading for a ‘generation-rent’ scenario! And market trends will follow those in the US. Certainly many young people now face decades of renting!

PRimage believes the NHF are right to highlight stark statistics which show that last year, the number of new homes built reached the lowest in peacetime since 1923 – and correct in blaming declining home ownership on banks setting too lenient lending criteria and too small deposits.  The Government needs to take immediate action to tackle this crisis and the chronically low supply of homes. From what Judy Viitanen understands, reading the report and comments from industry experts, the difficulties of raising deposits and obtaining mortgages are one side of the problem. The other is housing supply. It is, though, a bit of a catch-22.  The major developers say they are willing and ready to build more homes. But they worry that they won’t be able to sell them, because potential buyers will not be able to raise the finance.  The dilemma for policy makers is how to escape this damaging cycle, of restricted supply leading to high prices, which leads to curtailed demand, resulting in unwillingness to build

  • In England, the proportion of people living in owner-occupied homes will fall from a peak of 72.5% in 2001 to 63.8% in 2021.
  • In London, the majority of people will rent by 2021, with the number of owner-occupiers falling from 51.6% in 2010 to 44% by 2021
  • Average rents for apartments and single family homes in the private sector are forecast to increase by 19.8% over the next five years, fuelled by high demand and a shortage of properties.


Real Estate Websites – US Top 10 Ranking

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

The Experian Hitwise infographic data detailed below  is based on US market share of visits as defined by the IAB, which is the percentage of online traffic to the domain or category.

USA Usage of Social Network Sites – PRimage comment

Monday, August 29th, 2011

PRimage do a lot of communications work in the social media arena – so Judy Viitanen was very interested in the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project on Social Network Sites usage – which indicates that 65 percent of adult Internet users in the United States use social networks.  That translates into 50 percent of the entire US adult population!

The rise is driven by all ethnic and age groups, but women stand out as the most avid users. However, the number of seniors (aged 65+) who access social networks recorded a strong increase over the past year; 33% of those aged 65 and older now use the sites, compared with 26% one year ago. Predictably, the sites are more popular among younger people

Social Network Sites – Usage by age groups

      18-29 year-olds = 83%

      30-49 year-olds = 70%

      51% of 50-64 year-olds = 51%

      65 and older = 33%

  • 83 percent of people surveyed in the 18-29 age bracket said they use social networking sites, compared to 51 percent of those in the 50-64 age bracket, and 70 percent in the 30-49 age bracket. 
  • The young are also twice as likely to use social sites every day.
  • Women aged 18-29 are “the power users” of social sites, with 89 percent of them using social networking sites and 69 percent using them every day.

PRimage was especially interested in the news that ‘online mum’ are a particularly active group of smartphone users. These mothers are sharing recommendations for products, saving pictures of children and family, and using social networking sites to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Judy believes this represents huge potential for advertising and marketing messages on Facebook and Twitter!

The Internet is still more commonly used every day for e-mail and search: 61 percent said they went online every day to check e-mail, 59 percent for search and 43 percent for social networking.

Asked for one word to describe their social networking experience, the most common descriptor from respondents was “good.”

  • Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half of the respondents used positive terms).
  • Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.” Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and “empowering.”
  • One in five respondents sounded less upbeat: they used words like “boring,” “time-consuming” and “overrated” to describe their experience.
  • Looking at usage on a typical day, 43% of online adults use social networking, up from 38% a year ago. Out of all the “daily” online activities that we ask about, only email (which 61% of internet users access on a typical day) and search engines (which 59% use on a typical day) are used more frequently than social networking tools.
  • The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social network sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social network sites usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%). 

365 Connect publishes second in series of case studies on Online Resident Usage

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

365 Connect, the New Orleans based, award winning online technology platform architect for the multifamily industry, today announced publication of its Two-Year Study of its Multifamily Internet Platforms: The Retreat at Cinco Ranch in Katy, Texas. The second in a series of data compilation and analyses projects, the study tracks two years of usage by market-rate apartment dwellers of Internet-driven leasing and resident platforms. Following activity on 365 Connect’s powerful Online Leasing Centers and Resident Services Portals, the publication delivers more detailed evidence of strong Internet usage by apartment dwellers and provides the best documentation to date in the multifamily housing industry.

The community followed in this Case Study is The Retreat at Cinco Ranch, a market rate, garden style apartment community located in Katy, Texas. With 268 units spread over a unique mix of one-bedroom units ranging in size from 708 square feet to 875 square feet, two-bedroom units from 993 square feet to 1,170 square feet and three-bedroom units at 1,369 square feet, the property appeals to a wide spectrum of professionals and entrepreneurs. With nine-foot ceilings, garden tubs, private entries to a 24-hour fitness center, resort style swimming pool and cyber café, The Retreat at Cinco Ranch sets the standard for creating elegant living in a market-rate community.

The data in this study was collected by 365 Connect, L.L.C., a designer and operator of online marketing, leasing and resident services platforms for multifamily communities. The 365 Connect Multifamily Platforms automatically collect and tabulate an extensive amount of data regarding marketing response, leasing activity and resident interaction. The Retreat at Cinco Ranch data was collected over a full two‐year period from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2010, representing a statistically significant period of study.

The Case Study revealed that The Retreat at Cinco Ranch’s Online Leasing Platform brought more potential residents to the leasing staff than any other form of marketing, with an astounding 119,355 hits over the two-year period. From this traffic, 2,318 prospect leads were procured through online contact forms and applications. The Case Study further demonstrated that upon the release of 365 Connect’s Marketing Syndication Platform in May 2010, the quality of traffic increased, delivering 1,412 prospect leads in 2010 versus 906 prospect leads in 2009, representing a 58% increase. This data makes a very strong case for the argument that the Marketing Syndication Platform can eliminate the need for traditional third party listing services that are rapidly becoming outdated and redundant.

365 Connect introduced its Mobile Leasing Platform in August of 2010.  Despite the short history, mobile usage appeared to be organic in nature in that the community did not market its mobile website. From August to December 31, 2010, The Retreat at Cinco Ranch’s Mobile Leasing Platform produced an average of over 600 hits per month.  Along with the addition of QR Codes in late November 2010, 365 Connect’s Mobile Platform has proven the value of mobile marketing by driving additional leasing traffic, delivering prospect leads and “Click to Call” interactions to the community.

Data gathered from The Retreat at Cinco Ranch’s Resident Services Platform brought the multifamily industry its long awaited answer to the question – “Are residents really using Resident Services Portals?” With a staggering 108,084 hits over a two-year period, the 365 Connect Resident Services Platform proved to be worth its weight in gold. It delivered 10,616 contacts between management and residents, 4,810 online exchanges between residents on the Be Social Message Boards and 21,871 views of LearnTV videos.

In 2010, The 365 Connect Automated Lease Renewal Notice System generated 884 renewal notices from which 156 leases were renewed at The Retreat at Cinco Ranch, representing approximately $2 Million in annual lease revenue. The new automated graphic card delivery system for holiday, birthday and “Thank You for Renewing your Lease” cards made 2,043 deliveries to the residents, creating important personal touch points with its residents.

The assemblage and publication of the Case Study demonstrates 365 Connect’s commitment to deliver educational information to the multifamily industry and further cements 365 Connect’s role as the leader in creating leading edge, Web-based technology solutions for the multifamily industry.

The complete Case Study is available at: www.365connect.com

About 365 Connect, LLC: Headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, 365 Connect was founded in 2003 by a team of multifamily housing professionals with wide-ranging expertise in real estate development, management and technology. 365 Connect provides web-based technology solutions to the multifamily industry, with a focus on resident and management interaction and doing business in the digital world. Today, 365 Connect is the leader in designing and delivering award winning web-based multifamily technology platforms, with an array of products ranging from online leasing centers and interactive resident platforms to MultifamilyBiz.com, a powerful and robust B2B industry portal. More information on 365 Connect businesses and services is available on the Web at: www.365connect.com

Turbulent day on the markets!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Too depressing …. Investor anxieties …. Weakness in Eurozone.  Stock markets plunged again today, led down by banks, as fears resurfaced about the global economy and European debt problems. The FTSE 100 fell nearly 5% while RBS, Lloyds and Barclays all lost more than 10% of their value.

Mobile apps potential – PRimage comment

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Judy Viitanen and PRimage are interested in new statistics just released from Nielsen which show that mobile apps are beating the mobile web among US android smartphone users.

According to first-reported data from Nielsen Smartphone Analytics, when consumers use their mobile phones to check the news, weather, email, or their social networks, they often have a choice between the mobile web version or a specially-created mobile app. And they prefer Mobile apps – at least in terms of time spent.

These new Nielsen stats track and analyse data from on-device meters installed on thousands of iOS and Android smartphones.

  • They show that the average Android consumer in the U.S. spends 56 minutes per day actively interacting with the web and apps on their phone. Of that time, two-thirds is spent on mobile apps while one-third is spent on the mobile web.
  • The average Android user spends almost an hour a day interacting with web and apps.

A surprising finding is that despite the hundreds of thousands of apps available for Android, only a very small proportion of apps make up the vast majority of time spent.

  • In fact, the top 10 Android apps account for 43% of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps.
  • The top 50 apps account for 61% of all time spent. With 250,000+ Android apps currently available, that means the remaining 249,950+ apps have to compete for the remaining 39% of the pie.