Research 13 Survey Finds Educated Oregonians Buy at Farmers' Markets over Wal-Mart and Interested in Solar Energy

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Businesses wishing to sell to Educated Oregonians need to understand them because Educated Oregonians are different than other Oregonians. They are likely to own their own home and make over $65K by themselves. Educated Oregonians are more optimistic about the way things are headed than the national average. They are more likely to shop farmers' Markets and are very likely to use Facebook or other social media.

A recent survey of Portland, Ore., metropolitan internet-using residents shows that 42 percent of them are most likely to shop a farmers’ market, Coop, or local vendor for fruit and vegetable purchases. The survey’s respondents represent a well educated cross section of Oregonians, including some college, 39 percent; four year degree, 18 percent; some post graduate, 11 percent; post graduate degree, 29 percent.

Conducted pro bono as a public service by Research 13 of Portland, Ore., the survey screened 435 respondents. The Web-based, self-administered survey was conducted between Oct. 23 and Nov. 7, 2009. This survey Educated Oregonian audience was targeted because of businesses’ interest in selling products to well educated Oregonians during the holiday season. Survey respondents were offered a chance to win $100 gift card or Apple iPod.

Among the survey’s findings are the following:

  •     Nearly nine-in-ten educated Oregonians say that they own their own home (86 percent). On average, the median personal individual income stated is $65,500 (not household income which would be greater) and median respondent age is 46.1 years.
  •     Respondents who are better educated are more likely to say things are headed in the right direction than the national average (61 percent vs. 38 percent.)
  •     Respondents said that they were most likely to shop for fruits and vegetables: farmers’ market, Coop, or local vendor (42 percent), local grocery store (37 percent), chain grocery store (5 percent), and Costco, Winco or Wal-Mart (16 percent).
  •     Respondents said they are most likely to buy sporting goods, sports equipment or sportswear (sweats, shorts, etc.) at a retail chain (45 percent) specialty retailer (24 percent) than a specialty retailer (24 percent) local retailer (8 percent) or online (5 percent).
  •     Respondents said they are even less likely to use a larger retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco or Target (8 percent) for a bicycle purchase. Respondents report they are most likely to buy a bicycle from a specialty bicycle store (37 percent) or local

“mom and pop” bicycle store (34 percent).

  •     Most respondents (84 percent) the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plan for more solar and renewable energy options. Some respondents say that they neither support nor oppose ODOT’s solar energy plans (11 percent) and some are unsure (5 percent). It should be noted that none (0 percent) of the respondents surveyed chose the option that they “generally oppose ODOT’s solar plans” even though this options was given to all survey respondents.
  •     As of right now, none (0 percent) of respondents surveyed “definitely will” install solar measures on their homes, although some are “very likely” (11 percent) or somewhat likely” (42 percent). A small percentage (3 percent) of respondents say they already have solar hot water heating. Roughly one quarter of respondents said they are “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to install a solar system on their residential property (24 percent).
  •     Approximately two thirds of respondents (66 percent), said the following statement best describes their current situation regarding solar: “I would like to add solar. I just do not have the budget for it.” Solar power may have some “social proof” issues similar to recycling because approximately one-in-ten (11 percent) said that the statement “I would like to install a system on my roof to show that I support renewable energy” was the statement that “best describes” their current situation.
  •     Respondents were given the following question: In the future, there may be subsidies similar to European subsidies, called Feed In Tariffs (FIT), which would allow people to install solar systems on their property that would pay for themselves in the first 15 years, and the solar system would produce energy for another 10-15 years (25+ years total). If there was a program like this, how likely would you be to participate in it? With the Feed In Tariff subsidy, respondents said they were much more likely to install a solar system (45 percent “definitely would” or “would be very likely” versus 11 percent without the subsidy).
  •     One third of respondents (34 percent) said they are “more likely” to take a bus or use public transportation compared to a year ago. Only one-in-twenty (5 percent) were “less likely” to say they use public transportation and over half (58 percent) have had “no change” in their likelihood to take a bus or public transportation.
  •     During the holidays, a substantial percentage (61 percent) said they will not travel between December 20 and January 2. Few respondents (3 percent) said they had plans to travel by airplane between December 20 and January 2 at the time of the survey. More than one-in-ten (11 percent) are still unsure of their travel plans during the holidays.
  •     More than one-in-ten (13 percent) say they are “more likely” to travel this holiday season although more say they are “less likely” to travel (29 percent) or have experienced “no change” in their likelihood to travel (58 percent).
  •     Use of social media is strong among educated Oregonians with the largest percentage saying they use Facebook (69 percent). A smaller percentage report using Twitter (8 percent), YouTube (17 percent), Flickr (3 percent) and Linked-In (33 percent). More than one-quarter report using other social media than those mentioned here (28 percent).

According to Bob Beaulaurier, Research 13 Principal and Account Executive, “The survey offers an important snapshot of our present economic environment. The information gathered provides a basis for decision-making to help businesses understand how to target Educated Oregonians.” He notes that a summary of the survey’s findings will be posted on the company’s web site,, after December 1.

Beaulaurier explains that each respondent included in this survey was screened in-person or over the phone and asked to participate. Invitations and reminders to participate in the survey were e-mailed. The sample of 435 is an industry standard survey because surveys over n=400 provide a sampling variability less than +/-5% at the 95 percent confidence level. Beaulaurier notes that the survey isn’t based on a scientific sampling scheme and results can’t be projected to populations at large. This is because the results reflect opinions and perceptions of educated Oregonians and those interested in completing web surveys. “However,” Beaulaurier adds, “the results are in line with findings from regional and national scientifically conducted research.”

Beaulaurier also notes that since the survey was limited to those with Internet access, some people were excluded. Although it should be noted that internet incidence among educated Oregonians is higher than among the general population.

Founded in Portland, Ore., in 2008, Research 13 provides marketing consulting, custom research, project management, social media services and data management to U.S. and international clients.

Information about the survey, and about Research 13 products and services, is available at bob(at) or by phoning (503) 863-9913 or (503) 821-9904.

Bob Beaulaurier
Research 13
(503) 863-9913


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Bob Beaulaurier
Research 13
(503) 863-9913
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