The American Consumer's New Diet

The squeeze put on by rising prices on many consumable items, tighter credit, and less savings is influencing a shift in consumer behavior. A recent study completed by Cramer-Krasslet found that the current financial strain felt by many is not just leading to temporary belt tightening, but rather a more permanent change in behaviors. Among the behavior changes noted are more short-term responses such as eating out less, buying more private label products, and doing less driving. But, the study found evidence of more permanent behavior changes such as more "lateral cycling" of possessions by selling on web sites such as eBay or Craigslist and a desire to simplify lives by streamlining consumption.

Another trend is shopping locally more frequently. Local Chambers of Commerce have touted "shop local" campaigns for years. I have never been a big fan of these campaigns as they tend to come across as guilt trips for not shopping in one's community. It is up to the seller to provide good value and a compelling reason for shoppers to patronize a business. The shift in consumer behavior taking place today sets the stage for "shop local" campaigns to have greater relevance than ever before. Consumers are wanting to shop local; it is up to local businesses to deliver great service and experiences that will keep shoppers returning.

Link: Marketing Daily - "Study: Downturn Gives Rise to New Consumer Beliefs"