Customer Loyalty Programs in the US: Stats and Facts

The average U.S. household has enrolled in more than 18 customer loyalty programs, but is only active in 8.4. (Colloquy Loyalty Census). Just because someone signs up for your loyalty program, it doesn’t mean they will ever do business with you again, at least in the somewhat near future.

Of the roughly $48 billion in reward points and miles issued annually, at least one third goes unredeemed by consumers. (Colloquy Loyalty Census).  loyalty-cards-us

85% of loyalty program members haven’t heard a single word since the day they signed up. It is likely that most companies do reach out to their customers, however their emails or letters look like spam or junk mail.

88% of respondents indicated that quality is a key factor in their decision to remain loyal to a brand; 72% identified customer service as a top priority. These stats make a pretty strong case that loyalty comes from the combination of a high quality product and excellent customer experience.

48% of respondents said that the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty was when they make their first purchase or begin service. First impressions count. It can be the first time you meet or work with a customer, or the 500th time. Set the tone for the first impression of that particular interaction, which sets the tone for what’s to follow.

54% of respondents would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for a loyalty reward, and 46 % said they already have. However, the majority of consumers (62%) don’t believe that the brands they’re most loyal to are doing enough to reward them. Customers want to be loyal. They would like some type of loyalty program, but do it right. Follow through after the customer signs up or commits to your program.

Don’t let your loyalty program be gimmick, just to get customers to sign up. You can have a million card carrying members in your program, but don’t be fooled into thinking you have a million loyal customers. Unless you engage with these customers, follow through with them and make them feel special, you will only retain a percentage of these customers. And it starts with a great product that is combined with a great customer service experience.

Loyalty Marketing Statistics

  • 53% of Americans participate in a loyalty program because of ease of use
  • U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs
  • Loyalty membership growth continues, but has slowed to 15% compared to the 26% growth rate achieved in 2015
  • Loyalty Program enrollment has grown by 31% over the last four years while active engagement rates have remained flat
  • Loyalty program member satisfaction remains steady year over year at about 46%
  • 39% of U.S. consumers participate in a loyalty program because they give great discounts
  • 37% of U.S. consumers participate in a loyalty program because they are easy to understand
  • 57% of U.S. consumers will abandon a loyalty program if it took too long to earn points or miles
  • 26% of North American consumers will stop using a loyalty program if it doesn’t have a smartphone app
  • 56% of brands automatically enroll customers into their loyalty program at account signup
  • 51% of Americans trust loyalty programs with their personal information
  • 70% of shoppers said they belonged to between one and five non-grocery loyalty programs
  • 16% of shoppers don’t belong to a loyalty program of any kind
  • 24% of shoppers use the rewards they earn
  • 43% of shoppers say rewards expire before they can be redeemed
  • 38% of shoppers say they never knew if they had rewards available
  • Redeemers are twice as satisfied with loyalty programs as non-redeemers
  • 71% of shoppers say they would be more likely to use their loyalty cards if they could access these cards and rewards from their mobile phone
  • 81% of consumers agree that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand
  • 86% of consumers who like a loyalty program will shop more, and of those, 58% will shop 15% or more with their retailer/brand of choice
  • 73% of members are more likely to recommend and say good things about brands with good loyalty programs

The MaCorr Team

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Customer Loyalty Programs in Canada: Stats and Facts

Canadians love their rewards credit cards and loyalty programs and it’s becoming increasingly clear just how much we are, and aren’t, using them. A new study by Bond Brand Loyalty shows the average Canadian participates in 12.2 loyalty programs, up a whopping 25 per cent in just four years. However, many of us are not spending our points. Right now, there are $16 billion worth of points left unredeemed by members in Canada.loyalty-cards-ca

“The fact that Canadians have collected and not redeemed such a high level of points suggests Programs could be doing a much more effective job of engaging members and driving redemption behaviour,” said the report.

What’s more, many of us choose what we buy and where we shop because of these loyalty programs. The study found 66 per cent of Canadians change when or where they shop to get more points and 58 per cent said they adjust how much they spend to maximize loyalty benefits.

Still, one quarter of Canadian loyalty program members have not redeemed any of their points, ever, and the report says those members are more likely to walk away dissatisfied with the program. More than four in 10 of us (41 per cent) don’t even know the value of the points we’re sitting on.

The most successful programs are those where you redeem often

Loyalty programs where rewards come frequently, or easily, have the highest levels of satisfaction in Canada. This includes debit and credit cards, as well as in-store rebate cards like coffee cards and gas points cards.

Programs that partner with brands, like Air Miles and Aeroplan, scored the lowest in terms satisfaction, reports CBC.

There may be other factors in why those programs are turning off some members. Last year, Air Miles’ parent company, LoyaltyOne, instituted a rule that unused points for many of its members would be expiring. It later revoked that rule, but Bond Brand Loyalty suggests it hurt satisfaction levels with the program. In a more recent development, Air Canada announced it would be dropping Aeroplan and would be starting its own loyalty program, throwing more uncertainty into the mix for long-time points collectors.

“A breach of trust is the number one anti-driver of loyalty,” Sean Claessen, Bond’s executive vice-president of strategy and innovation, told CBC.

What we want from our cards

Rewards are great, but they’re not the biggest driving factor in whether or not Canadians are satisfied with the loyalty programs they’re using. Members’ experiences using the cards, corresponding apps, and programs outweigh the monetary rewards they receive, according the report. Almost six in 10 (59 per cent) said program experience, brand alignment, digital experiences, and “human touch” were the biggest factors in their satisfaction. The remaining 41 per cent said they cared most about rewards, redemptions, and how much they earn.

In terms of what Canadians would like to see more of, it’s programs that meet their needs, are fun to use, and have the right level of effort needed to get the reward. These were the top three responses, while monetary aspects like “amount accumulated per $1 spent” ranked much lower on the list.

It looks like Canadians’ appetite for loyalty cards is continuing to grow fast. However, if we want to truly reap the rewards from them (we are, after all, exchanging some of our privacy and personal details to be part of these programs), it’s time to stop hoarding them and start cashing in because $16 billion worth of points is a lot of rewards to be banking.

The MaCorr Team

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Market Research Before Entering a Business

You may have a golden business idea and feel you can immediately start your new business without any problems. After all, the idea is so good that nothing can stop you from being successful, right? However, the reality is quite different.

Market Research Before Entering a Business

Without the right market research, even the best business idea is bound to fail. Market research gives you in-depth insights into your target demographics and helps you check out your competition so that you can create and promote your unique selling point (USP). 

Before you begin market research, be sure your business idea is commercially viable. While there are some great ideas out there, they may fall flat when they are scaled to a commercial level.

HuffPost publication summarizes what you need to consider to ensure your business’s viability: 

Market saturation. Does your geographical location have a similar business? If so, does this area need another business that is similar to the existing one? Check whether there is space for your business to thrive and flourish. Also, visit the local Chamber of Commerce to find out how much money your industry spends each year in your geographical region. This will allow you to judge whether there is potential for another similar business to break ground there. 

Market demand. When a business starts, there should be a demand for it. There is no point in starting something that won’t have any takers. For example, does this area need another Italian restaurant or another burger joint? 

Local competition. If there are similar businesses operating in your area, find out how well they are performing and what is unique about them that attracts customers. You should be able to offer customers something unique and valuable in order for them to leave an established business to frequent yours.  

Target audience. You should have a way to reach out to your target audience. In the case you are starting a brick-and-mortar establishment, it is necessary that you open your store in an area that your target audience can easily access. On the other hand, if you are starting a digital business, how do you intend to reach your prospective customers? This is something you need to spend time on. You need to have a plan — a written one — to help you out.   

Conducting the Market Research

Now that you have the answers and know that your business idea has the potential to succeed, it’s time for the next step. After deep research, use the information and data you’ve found to develop a one-of-a-kind business proposition. By doing so, you enjoy a competitive edge.

How you get information will depend on the kind of business you want to open, and your target audience. However, you can tap into the following resources to extract relevant data: 

Trade information. If there is a trade association related to your business in your area, get in touch with them for all possible trade information. Alternatively, you can scour through online and print trade magazines to get the details that you are seeking. You can even visit trade shows if you have the time, money and inclination. 

Demographics and economic data. You can acquire a number of business-related data from other sources, whether it be geographical area, age range, total sales for businesses in your niche or income of your target audience. You can use online and offline resources. If you don’t know where to begin, get in touch with a reference librarian to help you find the right databases. You can also use American FactFinder, CensusScope and Datamonitor to pinpoint the information you are looking for. 

Local universities. Approach your local universities and business schools to see whether professors would be interested in giving their graduate students an assignment to do a market feasibility study. If so, you can get the students to do the grunt work for you, but make sure you are very clear on what information and data you are looking for. 

Business groups, associations and forums. The best place to find data and in-depth information related to your niche is the local Chamber of Commerce. You can also get in touch with associations that help small businesses and entrepreneurs. Online forums are another place to get details from like-minded professionals and individuals.  

Prospective customers. Put an ad on Craigslist and you will be able to find willing test subjects to create a focus group. You can conduct surveys among this group so that you receive an honest and unbiased opinion about your services and/or products. Just make sure your test subjects are from the same demographic group you want to target. 

Local competition. Visit your local competitors’ shop or store to find out more about their products and services. You can also check out their website. Also, get in touch with business owners who want to sell their business and find out about their sales and revenue. Be sure to find out why the owners are selling their business.

Launching a business is a decision you should think through thoroughly. Market research is an invaluable tool that will ensure you start your business in the correct manner. It will tell you whether your idea is a sparkling one and whether your experience and skills are sufficient enough to make the business a triumph.

The MaCorr Team

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“Cost of Love”

How much does it cost to find your happily ever after? Your now and forever? Your one true love?

Some say, love doesn’t cost a thing, but according to the 2017 Cost of Love study the cost of a budding relationship through to full bloom is $66,444, up seven per cent from last year.

The cost of togetherness has increased in part because of our love affair with dining out. According to the Consumer Price Index, the cost of eating out increased 2.3 per cent in 2016, causing all those fancy dinner dates to pack quite a punch.

After a year’s worth of dates ($11,537), a year-long engagement ($12,506), and a wedding that comes in at about $42,401 and couples might be looking for ways to say, “I do” to savings.


The MaCorr Team

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12 Things about Canadian Driving Record You Probably Didn’t Know

As you already know, the typical Canadian is polite, hard-working, law-abiding, generous, friendly, liberal, cheerful, a nice guy, peace-loving, an environmentalist, honest (except with regard to taxes), an immigrant, polite, respectful, boring, loyal, tolerant, sporting, a hockey fan and definitely not an American.

bearplateYou may not know, however, that Canada is currently credited as the tenth-largest auto producer in the world, but as car crazy as we are, here is a list of 12 things you probably didn’t know about Canada’s driving record.

1. Canadians drove on the left until the 1920s (at least, some of us did)
To some, it may come as a surprise that even though Canada is part of the Commonwealth, we don’t drive on the left side of the road today. However, there was a point in time when not all provinces were on the same side.

Ontario, Québec and the central provinces have always driven on the right side of the road. On the other hand, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island all changed from left-side traffic to right-side in the early 1920s. Newfoundland was the last to follow suit and switch from left to right in 1947 before officially becoming a part of Canada in 1949.

2. We’d rather travel by car
According to the Statistics Canada, 15.4 million Canadians regularly commute to work, and 74 per cent of them drive a vehicle to get there. Only 12 per cent use public transportation, 5.7 per cent walk, and 1.3 per cent cycle. The remaining are passengers who hitch a ride with someone driving into the workplace.

3. We had no concept of right-of-way until 1925
The first traffic lights in Canada were installed at an intersection in east Hamilton, Ontario in June 1925. When the amber light came on, a bell would ring loudly, which allegedly drove nearby residents crazy. And in 1963, Toronto became the first city in the world to develop and implement a computerized traffic management system.

Before that, cars, horses, carts, merchants and pedestrians fought for their right of way in streets that were essentially a free-for-all. After a number of injuries and deaths, officers began to stand in intersections and direct traffic.

4. We have one of the world’s longest national highways
Coming in fourth after the Pan-American Highway, the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia’s Highway 1, the Trans-Canada highway holds the title as one of the world’s longest national highways, spanning 8,030 km across all ten provinces from coast to coast. 

5. We invented the snow blower (if you know what that is….)
As a country known for its cold weather and snow, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that a Canadian man invented the first snow blower. Snow was traditionally removed by attaching a grain plow to the back of a truck.

The first documented “snow machine” was patented in 1869 by J.W. Elliot from Toronto, but it was never produced. Then in 1894, Arthur Sicard of Québec set out to find an easier way for farmers to clear snow off of their fields. After 31 years of trying to perfect his design, he invented the first practical snow blower in 1925, named the “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower.” The Sicard SSI Group is still in operation today.

6. We started electronic open toll routes
Toll roads and booths became a popular means for municipalities and townships to collect revenue for road maintenance since the 1800s. However, in 1997, Highway 407 opened up in Ontario, becoming the world’s first all-electronic, open-access toll highway. This privatized route features no toll booths and motorists are charged based on the size of their vehicle as well as the distance driven. Distances are calculated automatically using transponders or licence plates, which are scanned at entrance and exit points.

7. Canadians love Fords
The best-selling vehicle, brand and manufacturer year-to-date is the Ford F-Series pickup truck, Ford, and Ford Motor Company, respectively. The second and third best-selling vehicles? The Ram pickup, and the Honda Civic (which has been the top-selling car for the past 19 years).

8. We have polar bear license plates
Since 1970, the Northwest Territories has used polar bear-shaped licence plates. When the territory of Nunavut was formed in 1999 by sectioning off a portion of the Northwest Territories, they continued to use the design as well. While NWT still makes polar-bear plates, Nunavut opted for a change in design in 2012.

9. We are no stranger to road kill
It’s been said that every hour in Canada, there are between four and eight car accidents that involve large animals. It’s more common than you may think, and not just in rural areas.

10. We have a fairly young graduated licensing system
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, we only had to take one road test to take on the open roads, unrestricted. Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to implement a “Graduated Licensing System” in 1994, forcing drivers to take a written test, and two driving tests before becoming a fully-licensed driver.

11. We have the largest parking lot
It may not be the biggest mall in the world, but it sure can fit the most cars in its parking lot. West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta has been credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest car park in the world, with around 20,000 available spots.

12. We can drive barefoot
Some people believe the myth that driving barefoot, or in flip flops, or high heels is illegal. However, there are no laws in place that bans driving while barefoot. That said, if you end up in a collision due to your lack of footwear, you could be charged with careless driving and found at-fault for any damages. Probably not the best driving habit to pick up.

The MaCorr Team

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Interesting Pet Statistics

Best friend. Family. However you describe your pet, chances are you would do almost anything for them. They give you companionship and love, can make you smile with a wag of their tail or the sound of their purr; and best of all, they do it all unconditionally.pets_pic

Interesting pet statistics showing how pets are a part of the family and why:

  • It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. More than 50% of Canadian households own a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird etc. That’s more than five million homes!
  • Each year on pets Americans spent about $56 billion and Canadians about $3 billion.
  • 80% of pet owners, in a recent survey, said they gave their pets holiday or birthday presents; 60% said they signed their pets’ names on cards or letters; and, just over half (51%) named their pets with names like we’d name our children.
  • 94% admit they speak to their pets as if they were humans, and one-third say they’ve spoken to their pet on the phone or have left them a message on an answering machine.
  • 90% of pet owners believe their pets are aware of their moods and emotions.
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.
  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays.
  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).

The MaCorr Team

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The Digital Life of Moms and Dads

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 43.5 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 who have children. Collectively, these women are mothers to 95.8 million children.

Moms control approximately $2 trillion in purchasing power in the U.S., so reaching this segment of the population is important to many marketers. Recent research suggests the best place to reach them is online, with more than 70 percent of women with children spending time across digital devices in their daily lives.

We know moms are connected, influential, and among the most digitally savvy demographics. So connecting with moms, in the places where they spend their time and are most receptive, is essential for marketers. Yet marketers are often disconnected to the moms that they seek to portray and influence. In a study released by Saatchi and Saatchi this year, half of the moms interviewed stated that marketers don’t understand them.


 According to recent studies:

  • Both moms of younger children (under 6) and those with older children (6-16) are more likely to have gaming consoles, tablets and fitness bands when compared to the general U.S. population.
  • Moms with children under 6 are 22% more likely than moms of kids 6-16 to subscribe to an online streaming service (and 27% more likely than the overall U.S. population).
  • Moms with young children tend to be more likely to use a branded mobile app, engage with brands on blogs and participate in Facebook commentary, compared to the moms with older children.
  • Across product categories, moms with children under 6 generally tend to show more willingness to engage with a brand than those with children 6-16.

Marketers, on the other hand, have undervalued the power of dads when it comes to household purchasing overall, leaning on former notions that fathers don’t carry much household influence. That said, big brands are coming to understand the evolving power dads hold. Brands like Dove, Pantene and Huggies have leveraged marketing to men amidst categories (personal care and child care, respectively) that have long been mom focused in nature. Moreover, recent Super Bowl ads featured several key marketers with dad-focused themes as part of their key messaging.


According to recent studies:

  • Dads spend more of their daily device time on tablets than the general population, particularly dads with children under age 6
  • Dads are more likely to own emerging technologies, such as gaming consoles, fitness bands, smart TVs, and smart watches. For example, they are 52% more likely to own a smart TV.
  • Dads are more likely to engage with brand online, particularly on social media platforms
  • Dads are highly receptive to digital brand engagement

The MaCorr Team

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2016 Is Going To Be Quite A Year…

2016 is here, and it is going to be quite a year…

Facts show that people who believe that everything is “perfectly fine” and that we are going to come out of this “stronger than ever” maybe disappointed.

recessionIn 2015 the middle class continued to deteriorate, more Americans than ever found themselves living in poverty, and the debt bubble that we are living in expanded to absolutely ridiculous proportions.

The following is a digest of facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe…

  • At this point 62 percent of all Americans have less than 1,000 dollars in their savings accounts, and 21 percent of all Americans do not have a savings account at all.
  • If you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of all Americans.
  • It has been estimated that 43 percent of all American households spend more money than they make each month.
  • According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
  • A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.
  • Since hitting a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004, the rate of homeownership in the United States has been steadily declining every single year.
  • For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.
  • If you can believe it, the 20 wealthiest people in this country now have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined. The top 0.1 percent of all American families have about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.
  • There are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996.
  • An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.
  • In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.
  • The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.
  • If you can believe it, more than half of all students in our public schools are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.
  • An astounding 45 percent of all African-American children in the United States live in areas of “concentrated poverty”.
  • 40.9 percent of all children in the United States that are being raised by a single parent are living in poverty.
  • 102.3 million working age Americans do not have a job right now.
  • Approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”.
  • Economists estimate that if the U.S. government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be 22.9 percent.
  • Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, only about 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
  • Wal-Mart is projecting that its earnings may fall by as much as 12 percent during the next fiscal year.
  • Holiday sales have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.
  • Today, the average U.S. household that has at least one credit card has approximately $15,950 in credit card debt.
  • According to Dr. Housing Bubble, there have been “nearly 8 million homes lost to foreclosure since the homeownership rate peaked in 2004″.
  • One very disturbing study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either currently have medical bill problems or are paying off medical debt.  And collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from about 30 million of us each and every year.
  • The total amount of student loan debt in the United States has risen to a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars.  If you can believe it, that total has more than doubled over the past decade.
  • Right now, there are approximately 40 million Americans that are paying off student loan debt.  For many of them, they will keep making payments on this debt until they are senior citizens.

It appears we are in the midst of a long-term economic downturn that is beginning to accelerate once again.  Our middle class is being destroyed, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino in the history of the planet, and our politicians have piled up the biggest mountain of debt the world has ever seen.

Questionable decisions have culminated in a crisis, and we are now in for a shaking 2016.

The MaCorr Research Team

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Heatmap Research for Marketing Surveys

Survey fatigue is a real problem. The days of the 15-plus minute survey have come to an end or are nearing their end rather quickly. People feel pressed for time and that is true at both ends of the survey spectrum, from respondents not having the time to take long surveys, to management not having the time to review findings from all of the questions covered in a survey.

Making surveys interactive by using heat maps, hot spots and images keeps respondents engaged and attentive. Images help recreate a consumer experience in market research and make the data more authentic. You get more quality data while having the respondent spend less time doing so.

So, what exactly is a heat map and how it can be used in online surveys for better insights?

A heat map or hot spot is a graphical representation of data where information is displayed in tiered zones or matrices. Heat mapping techniques, see a theoretical example below, work great for ads, flyers and text testing, so you can better understand where potential consumers are focusing their attention and in what order. The techniques help creating more powerful advertising campaigns and prioritize marketing messages. Other applications include new product concept testing and point-of-purchase goods where shelf placement, branding and packaging impact a buyer’s decision to consider a product.


A simple question can ask the respondents to click on the first area that catches their eye, second area, third area, etc. The colors show frequency of all clicks and order of selection. Additional follow-up questions can be asked to rank overall design, appeal, messaging, relevancy for the industry, purchase intent etc.

You can find additional examples of the approach and how it works on our website:

The MaCorr Team

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7 Studies that Did Not Need to be Done

As medical research marches on, with an Ebola vaccine being tested on humans and the invention of an anti-HIV cream, some research proves to be far less useful. Here are 7 recent studies that didn’t need to be done:

1. Healthier habits lead to weight loss
A study published in 2014 made the not-so-shocking revelation that participants who maintained low-fat diets and continued regular physical activity over a 10-year period were able to maintain weight loss. In the words of the study: “Long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviours.”
Market Research Survey

2. University rankings influence applicants
A study done by researchers at New York university found that college and university rankings published each year influence where prospective students choose to apply! It reveals that students are actually interested in the quality of life and academic offerings of the schools they wish to attend.

3. Women prefer taller men
The long-held belief that women prefer to date taller men was confirmed this year thanks to a collaborative study from Rice University. More than half of women surveyed said they want to date only men who are taller than themselves, a preference attributed to a “matter of protection and femininity.”

4. Home field advantage lives up to its name
Home field advantage is, as it turns out, an advantage. Thankfully, an article published in February confirmed that a team playing at home enjoys a psychological edge thanks to encouragement from fans. Crowd influence on officials’ decisions and lack of travel or change in time zone also help prove that the advantage is, in fact, appropriately named.

5. Walking or biking is healthier than driving
A study published in August presented the groundbreaking news that walking or biking to work is healthier than driving. Active commuting, the study found, is linked to lower body weight and fat composition. Public transport was also tied to better health than private vehicle transportation.

6. Music can be empowering
Three top international business schools applied their genius this year to discovering that certain songs can have an empowering effect on listeners. Songs with heavy bass made people feel more powerful than songs with more mild bass tones. Of course, sporting event favourite We Will Rock You by Queen was among the most empowering songs.

7. Anonymous online comments more likely uncivil
After comparing thousands of online comments, University of Houston researchers found those posted anonymously were more likely to be vulgar, racist, profane or hateful. In comparison, posts with users’ names attached were more civil and respectful. Yes, the Internet conveniently allows users to hide behind anonymity to avoid responsibility for comments.

It appears not all research budgets are tight these days.

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