Understanding the New Consumer

The recession has had a profound impact on consumer behavior. Many studies conducted in recent months have found consumers have become more frugal, price conscious, and less brand loyal. These shifts spell trouble for marketers that are accustomed to buyer behavior following the peaks and valleys of the economy. This recession may be different; it appears that many consumers have decided to change their spending ways.

The most recent study on this issue from Deloitte titled “The New American Pantry” suggests that many consumers enjoy the challenge of saving money by using coupons, shopping for bargains, and participating in retailers’ loyalty programs. In fact, 81% of the respondents said these shopping techniques were fun! Consumers feel that they are more savvy as a result of the modified buying behavior induced by the recession, with 79% of respondents indicating they feel smarter about the way they shop.

Perhaps the most sobering finding arising from this study for brand marketers is that many consumers have regrets about their old shopping habits. The Deloitte report describes consumers’ sentiments about their pre-recession spending using words such as “remorse,” “embarrassment,” and “wasteful.” These feelings should serve as a call to brand marketers for a renewed focus on how they add value for consumers. It may not be enough to be a prestigious brand, and the perceived quality advantage national brands have enjoyed over private labels has been erased to an extent. Experience and relationship may overshadow awareness and image as marketing priorities. The key for brand marketers is to remain competitive in an environment in which brand relevance will matter more than brand image.

Marketing Daily - "Deloitte Study: Consumers Love Spending Less"

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