Tag Archives: recession

Changing the Way We Shop?

shopcart 02So, has the years-long economic downturn forever changed the way we shop? Maybe so. For years now, people have been tightening their belts. At the grocery store, things like “big national name brand loyalty” have taken a big hit, while store brands and generics have prospered.

Now, with a perceived (!) improvement in the economy, things are thawing out a bit. But, again, it may be that these past years have changed the way we think about grocery shopping. That’s the gist (or one of them) of the latest Deloitte Pantry Survey 2015:

A key finding is that eight in 10 Americans believe “the American economy has fundamentally changed and that thriftiness and challenging economic conditions are the new normal.”  The Tennessean

They surveyed 4000 shoppers, and found that they seem to split up in 4 categories. Do you see yourself in any of these?

  • Super Savers(26%): You focus on coupons and loyalty programs. You will switch brands to save. Tracking down the lowest price is fun.
  • Sacrificers(23%): You are the most affected by the economy. You are younger, lower income and less educated. You avoid higher-cost items.
  • Planners(21%): You also save with coupons and loyalty programs. You also save by not buying prepared foods.
  • Spectators(30%): You were least affected by the recession. You are younger, more educated, higher income. You buy store brands, less prepared foods and you buy in bulk.

Personally, I don’t see myself in any of these categories, not neatly anyway. I do steer away from prepared foods, though. How about you? Have your habits changed? How so? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And read the original article…tons more consumer insight!

Confident Consumers?

The graphics department nails it again!

When I read a headline claiming that consumer confidence is on the rise, I think that the newspaper should include a coupon for that big grain of salt you need to swallow the news.  That’s the problem today. You read that headline and, depending on your politics, you say, “Well, the New York Times says it, so it MUST (or MUST NOT) be true!”

So, let’s just dispense with all that. Let’s look at the numbers, and then you tell me whether you are “feeling it.” OK? OK!

More hiring and fewer firings this year have helped firm sentiment, setting the stage for a pickup in consumer spending that will probably bolster the economy. Middle-income and wealthier households were among those turning more optimistic last week as stocks rose to a record and gasoline prices stabilized. Bloomberg.com

  • The “Consumer Comfort Index” is at 37.6, the highest since Jan 2009
  • Hiring beat expectations in June, and unemployment is near a 6-year low
  • Auto sales are the strongest since 2006
  • Confidence is up for everybody making at least $40,000 a year, BUT, has dropped for those making less
  • All age groups are optimistic, with over-65’s the most so
  • Optimism increased everywhere but the South

So, those are some of the stats. You can read more at the original piece. So what about you? Are you feeling the rosy glow of consumer confidence or not? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a confident weekend!

The Ways We Save

Unfortunately, that penny was dropped from the roof of the Empire State Building
Unfortunately, that penny was dropped from the roof of the Empire State Building

Unless money truly is no object in your family, then you have cut back like the rest of us in the past 5 years. The things we do or buy and places we go are a little more modest.

It’s no surprise that in a thriving economy, consumers don’t watch their spending and budget as closely. They splurge on…getting their hair done frequently…vacations and redecorating their home. When the economy took a turn for the worst, consumers cut back on those extra expenses and became determined to save on daily expenses such as grocery shopping and gas. The JaneDough.com

So, how are we doing it?

  • Postponing (indefinitely!) that dream vacation, that elective surgical procedures (get used to the crow’s feet!) And, the oddest item: not getting divorced. (Staying together because it’s cheaper…yay?)
  • Investing in energy-efficient appliances and home upgrades, security systems and… get ready… pregnancy prevention products. (No comment – read the article.)

And last but not least:

  • Thievery. Ask my wife the commercial property manager about the relentless Copper Wars. On second thought, don’t get her started. Other popular items include feminine hygiene, toilet paper and dogs. (Again, read the piece.)

Of course, your mileage may vary. In our house, it’s not a matter of cutting OUT certain things; we seem to do the same NUMBER of things, but each thing is scaled back. Except for thieving. Don’t touch my thieving! Anyway…how are you getting by? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Will You Miss Them When They’re Gone?

These brands, that is. Face it, even in the best of times, things change, and brands die. And these are hardly the best of times. So analysts are looking into their crystal balls to see who is on their way out.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 important American brands that we predict will disappear within a year. This year’s list reflects the brutally competitive nature of certain industries and the reason why companies cannot afford to fall behind in efficiency, innovation or financing.  24/7 Wall St.com

Companies get hurt by bad management, big losses, a shrinking market…the list goes on and on. So who is on deathwatch for 2012?

  • Research In Motion: the BlackBerry guys. No shocker.
  • Pacific Sunwear: ran out of dough
  • Avon: fierce competition, bad management
  • MetroPCS: Wireless carrier I have never heard of!
  • Oakland Raiders: will be around, but probably NOT around Oakland!
  • Salon.com: one of those websites everybody talks about but few visit.
  • Suzuki: getting pushed out of small, cheap car market by Hyundai
  • Current TV: see Salon.com
  • Talbot’s: hurt by recession, competition from Ann Taylor and Limited
  • American Airlines: rash of mergers in the airline biz, and AA got left behind.

There are several on this list you probably don’t care about. But please don’t tell my wife about Talbot’s! And I’m not sure if it’s still America without Avon!

What do you think? Will you miss any of these brands? Let us know. And have a great weekend!

(photo: flickriver.com)