Like many holidays in rural America, Easter is a time for faith, family, and community. 85% of rural residents plan to celebrate Easter, 6% higher than their urban counterparts. But for many marketers in national or local retail, the rural consumer remains a mystery as far as buying habits go. We’re here to clear up some of this mystery and help everyone understand what this seasonal holiday means for retail in and around rural areas.
Easter Plans in Rural Areas
The top activities they are planning include going to church, having an Easter egg hunt, visiting family and friends, and cooking holiday meals. Prior to Easter, they’ll be getting ready for these activities by shopping for clothing, visiting department stores, candy shops, party centers, convenience and grocery stores, dollar stores, and butcher shops. Local caterers and florists should also be preparing for visits from rural consumers. Each of these businesses should have a strategy for reaching out to rural consumers before they plan to shop for the Easter holiday. Local businesses should pay special attention as rural residents are 3% more likely than their urban counterparts to shop local.
Rural Consumers are More Frugal
Rural residents spend less on Easter than their urban counterparts, averaging $50.44 for clothing, $33.95 for gifts, $23.01 for candy, $48.63 for food, $21.61 for flowers, $21.33 for decorations, and $13.09 for greeting cards. Most, about 74%, plan to spend the same amount they did last year for Easter – however they are 20% more likely than their urban counterparts to say they plan to spend less.
These consumers are influenced by coupons. We did a survey earlier this year asking rural consumers of each age group how they plan their shopping trips. The results showed that younger millennials, older generation x, younger boomers were more likely to plan their shopping trips in advance. Sometimes that meant making a list, sometimes it meant looking for ads and coupons beforehand, and sometimes it was a combination of both.
The fact that so many are influenced by coupons, indicates that retailers have a real opportunity to appeal to these customers before they do their shopping.
Direct Mail Works in Rural Areas
In the same consumer survey, we wanted to know how different types of media influence sales for the rural consumer. Direct mail stood out as a major influence – even against digital media.
These numbers are not at all surprising given that according to the DMA, direct mail has the highest response rates of any other medium. This means that retailers and local businesses can really use direct mail to their advantage to get in front of rural consumers before they begin shopping for the Easter holiday.
Direct Mail Cost Effectiveness
Sometimes local businesses associate print media like direct mail with high cost, especially compared to digital media. This is only partially true – there are a few hacks to keeping your print media budget-friendly. Shared mail is one hack we are quite partial to because you split postage with other advertisers and avoid the costs of mailing solo. It’s high-response, precision-targeted media at a good price. For retailers and local businesses looking to generate business from rural consumers prior to Easter, direct mail is the ticket. Curious to find out more? Give us a call today.
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Prosper Insights & Analytics 2018
Mspark Rural Report 2018