The economic downturn has changed consumers’ buying habits forever.
Shoppers are now programmed to hunt for the best deals and an improving economy won’t change that, according to a BIGinsight consumer survey for STORES.
“The financial meltdown, natural disasters and the threat of terrorism have sent shock waves through consumers and impacted their priorities,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president of BIGinsight. “The added layer of advancing technology has changed how they research and make purchases … The retail landscape will likely never be the same.”
The recession caused people to drastically rethink how they spend money. That’s not about to change.
Retailers must think about their customer base, inventory levels and price points to be competitive in this new market. They’ll also need to be smart about what they keep in their stores. One mistake could be devastating.
As results of the survey show, consumers continue to show that luxury items are most expendable. In fact, luxury handbags topped the list as the most expendable items in 2008 and 2011.
Consumers also are making changes to their dining habits by eating out less frequently. Nearly 90 percent of respondents ranked fine dining as an unnecessary expense. But fast-casual (76 percent) and casual sit-down dining (69 percent) ranked highly on the most untouchable list.
In some areas, consumers aren’t willing to make cuts. Technology topped the list with internet service (87 percent) and cellphone service (67 percent) scoring highest in the untouchable category.
Discount apparel and charitable contributions also represent areas in which consumers still aren’t pulling back much on spending.
Source: STORES.org, February 2012