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“Frugal Optimism”- Are You Buying It?

by Ruth Folger Weiss on January 12th, 2012

Would have thought this an oxymoron in the past, now it’s the term behavioral economists have adopted to explain consumers’ mindset for 2012
“The economy’s getting better but I’m not buying…yet!”

Though optimistic in Q4 2011, with an increase among those believing the economy improved in the last six months and will continue to strengthen during the first six months of 2012, shoppers are still conservative, according to SymphonyIRI.

The study presents a great aperture on how consumers are approaching their purchases:
• One-third of consumers purchased 50% or more of their baskets on deal in Q4, 2011
• 35% of the country’s wealthiest shoppers, those earning more than $100,000 annually, also purchase at least 50% of their baskets on deal
• 26% of shoppers are buying more on deal today than one year ago
• Among wealthier shoppers, 20% purchased more goods on deal than one year ago

Digital Media Usage In Shopping (% of Respondents; Q4 2011)
Media % of Respondents, Q4
Coupons from manufacturer websites 39%
Coupons from retailer websites 37%
Coupons from couponing websites 35%
Research products on websites 27%
Visit online deal sites 23%
Source: SymphonyIRI, January 2012

Shoppers made brand decisions based on a wide range of traditional and new media influences throughout 2011, says the study. Among traditional media:
• Use of in-store circulars increased 8 percentage points during the year and were cited as a heavy influencer of brand decisions for 44% of respondents
• Coupons influenced brand choice for 55% of consumers in Q4
• Use of newspaper circulars from home grew from 43% in Q1 to 49% in Q4
• Shopper loyalty card discounts proved influential to 42% of consumers, ahead of signs or displays in the store (30%)

Influence of new media is currently below that of the more traditional forms of communication and promotion, but these new means of reaching shoppers are growing quickly, notes the report:
• Online advertising influence grew by 3 percentage points to 11% in just one quarter
• Recommendations from blogs or social networking sites also increased 3 points, from 5% to 8% during the year

From → Opinion

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