Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Parks Associates survey identifies impact of education and income on consumer PC purchase habits

For each $1,000 in income, U.S. households will pay on average $1 more for a PC, according to the Consumer Decision Process Annual Survey, which has quantified the influence of income and education on the amount consumers spend on specific CE products.

International research firm Parks Associates recently completed this survey of over 5,000 U.S. consumers on their 2008 purchases and 2009 purchase intentions. The research, part of the Consumer Decision Process Service, examines ownership and attitudes toward product categories such as PCs, MP3 players, LCD and connected TVs, home networks, and Blu-ray players.

Results from the survey show that consumers with a graduate degree spend, on average, $100 more for a computer than consumers with only a high-school degree. Income levels also affect the final price for computers, as households with $200,000 in annual income spend over $150 more for a laptop compared to households with $50,000 in annual income.

“The prices consumers pay for PCs and laptops are remarkably elastic, especially when compared to products such as DVD players, game consoles, and home networks, where prices are basically flat across different income and educational groups,” said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. “These results allow us to measure the impact of specific consumer attributes, such as level of education, and use that to predict both the products consumers are interested in and how much they’ll pay for certain items.”

For example, Barrett says, higher-income households would be more willing to pay a little extra for a better laptop, whereas they see less value in paying extra for a high-end DVD player. As a result, high- and low-income households pay basically the same for a DVD player.

Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates, and Vipin Jain, CEO, Retrevo, presented research from the Consumer Decision Process Annual Survey on June 3 at CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference & Showcase. Their presentation, Navigating the Changing CE Purchase Process, discussed the impact of the recession and the need for flexibility in selling CE to consumers, especially as the power of brand has diminished.

For the full press release, click here.

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