The Budget Shopper - US - June 2012
Popularized during the height of the recession, the term “budget shopper” referred to a consumer who was struggling to make ends meet by scrutinizing costs, weighing out the pros and cons of nearly every purchase, and making spending cutbacks wherever possible. Although the recession officially ended in 2009, consumer attitudes toward spending remain relatively unchanged, and nearly as many say that they adhere to a strict weekly or monthly budget. Further, compared to years past, a greater percentage of consumers say that they are “budgeting more compared with last year.” These sentiments confirm that consumers have retained the shopping habits and mindset cultivated during the economic downturn.
While in the past “buying on impulse” was not unusual, throughout the recession and the following difficult years, budget shopping has become the norm, regardless of household income—and is often equated with “smart shopping.” As a result, consumers are less willing to pay full price on nearly everything and have come to expect sales and discounts—which makes it more difficult for retailers to stand out in the sea of markdown offers.
This report explores the shopping behavior and attitudes of budget shoppers. In particular the report tracks how budget shoppers’ shopping behaviors have changed from the peak of the recession (2008-09), immediately following the recession (2010), to recovery (2012).
For the purposes of this report, the term “budget shopper” refers to the degree to which consumers across a range of demographics/income groups assess the budgetary impact of their shopping and spending habits by weighing sales incentives and cost-savings behaviors against where they choose to shop and what they choose to purchase.
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