NEW YORK: Marketers in the US believe that shoppers are becoming less focused on price and more interested in brands and product quality, new figures have revealed.

The Fuqua School of Business, part of Duke University, and the American Marketing Association, polled 269 executives, 16.4% of which said price would be the main consumer priority over the next 12 months, down from 24.1% in August 2011.

Quality posted 26.3% in the latest research, up from 24.1% late last year, figures standing at 13.7% and 21.4% respectively for service. Brands also accrued 0.8 percentage points here, posting 7.5%.

More broadly, marketing expenditure is expected to rise by 8.1% during the coming 12 months at the typical firm. As a mean figure, this discipline will take 8.5% of sales.

This ties in with recent findings from February's Global Marketing Index, with marketers in the Americas increasing budgets significantly, with an index score of 56.9 (where 50 = neutral).

Social media receives 7.4% of budgets at present, a total pegged at 10.8% over the next year, and 19.5% in five years time.

Other areas set to enjoy greater funding in the future include marketing analytics, currently receiving 5.7% of outlay, and due to secure 9.1% of spending when looking three years ahead.

Indeed, room for progress remains in this field, as 63% of the projects at present do not use analytics. Some 67% of brand owners also fail to evaluate the quality of their results.

Upon assessing the payback from marketing in the last 12 months, respondents stated that performance had improved by 3.5%, and targeted an increase of 5.1% for the coming year.

Customer acquisition scores rose by 3.8% in the last year, with the goal of securing 5.7% on this measure going forward.

These totals stood at 2.2% and 4.6% in turn for customer retention, alongside 4.1% and 5.8% when discussing increases in brand value.

More broadly, the share of revenues drawn from overseas markets hit an average 32.4%, beating 24.7% in August 2011. Western Europe, Canada and China were expected to be the top three sources of growth.

When participants were asked to name which organisation "sets the standard for excelling in marketing" across all industries, Apple, the electronics pioneer, took the top spot.

Procter & Gamble, FMCG group, was perceived as leading the consumer packaged goods sector, as was Google, the online giant, for services, General Electric, the conglomerate, for manufacturing and McDonald's, the fast food chain, for retail.

Data sourced from Fuqua School of Business; additional content by Warc staff