Skip to comments.How Columbus, Ohio Became The 'Test Market Capital' Of The U.S.
Posted on 11/02/2011 12:42:45 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Fast food companies love Columbus, Ohio.
It's the perfect place to test products like the McDonald's McRib, and try out prototype Wendy's and Panera Bread restaurants.
The city is located in the heart of the heartland after all, and companies believe its residents typify U.S. consumer behavior.
For decades, its demographics have mirrored national numbers, though since it's the third-fastest growing metropolitan area in the Midwest, it's now more diversified than the nation overall. Even so, Columbus has held onto the "ideal test market" title for decades, and many businesses still choose to test there
1. It's a microcosm of the nation
Companies that can afford to test regionally often seek out cities with populations that are reflective of the greater U.S., or whose consumer habits match the broader market.
"Theres a reason Middle America is called Middle America," Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch told Nation's Restaurant News. "Columbus is very representative of American demographics.
Median household income levels in Ohio and in the U.S. overall fall between $45,000 and $50,000, and until recently, racial demographics were more closely aligned.
2. It's a college town which means there are tons of young customers who are setting trends.
Several colleges and universities call Columbus home, including Ohio State University. This means there's a guaranteed population of prospective consumers, Dennis Lombardi, executive VP for food service strategies at WD Partners, told Nation's Restaurant News.
Also, younger customers provide valuable insight to companies test-marketing products. After all, they're the ones who are setting trends and steering future consumer behavior patterns. By that logic, Columbus is not only a place to learn about consumers now it's also a place that can help groom businesses for future success
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
I wonder how much all the Somali illegals will change that.
Used to be Peoria, Illinois was the go-to for consumer market research.
Columbus was known for being a test market when I lived there 25 years ago.
We had the first Taco Bell / KFC / Pizza Hut combination resturant back then.
It has been a good week for the black man. Kim Kardashian is single again and now the McRib is back.
Given the above criteria, that leaves a very large number of places suitable for test markets.
Our own Pittsburgh area is actually a fairly good blend of southern redneck, polite midwestern and east coast snob culture. You can find great examples of all three within an hour's drive of our fair city. We have a black population fairly close to the national average and what we lack in Hispanics we more than make up in Indians.
“...and what we lack in Hispanics we more than make up in Indians.” LOL—interesting.
RE: what we lack in Hispanics we more than make up in Indians.
What Indians? The ones who used to have feathers on their heads? Or the ones who gave us the ‘guru’?
If you’re successful with the latter, you have a billion people market to sell to.
FWIW, Monroeville (suburb on the east side of Pittsburgh) is home to the largest Hindu temple outside India.
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