The report highlights these behaviors and offers recommendations to CPG and retailer decision makers. This Times & Trends Special Report is based on results from SymphonyIRI’s third quarter MarketPulse survey, an ongoing survey series commissioned to monitor shoppers’ perceptions around the evolving economy, and the impact that the economy is having on personal financial conditions, lifestyle and shopping behaviors, and money-saving strategies.
This quarter’s MarketPulse revealed that a majority of shoppers remain pessimistic about their personal finances and that, as this pessimism continues, they are increasingly expanding money-saving practices, such as eating at home, extending the life of personal care products, utilizing a cleaning product for multiple tasks, clipping and downloading coupons, and using the Internet to find the best deals.
“In this prolonged down economy, nearly one in four consumers find it difficult to afford their weekly groceries,” said Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. “As a result, many consumers are adjusting their food and beverage-related behaviors in an effort to save money. Through the MarketPulse survey, many consumers are telling a story of optimism that has faded and been replaced with expectations that the economy will remain stagnant or weaken further. In reaction to this lack of confidence, a theme of ‘conservatism’ is prevalent across markets, channels, categories and consumer segments.”
Home Is Where the Savings Is
Consistent with MarketPulse findings from the second quarter of this year, more than half of consumers surveyed dialed back the frequency of eating out in an effort to conserve. A similar number is creating and serving more “simple” and less expensive meals at home. Other household rituals they are observing include:
• 42% of consumers are bringing snacks/food from home to school or work to save money
• 36% of consumers are going to the doctor less and self-treating more to save money
• 35% are turning more frequently to at-home beauty treatments in lieu of spa treatments
“For CPG marketers, there is a bright side to this downturn economy,” continued Ms. Viamari. “Many of the rituals consumers are embracing as they seek to manage their budgets involve packaged goods solutions. But, shoppers are selecting and using these solutions in a very cost-conscious manner. Marketers must understand and deliver against the conservative mindset behind this approach to daily living in order to fully capitalize on opportunities spawned from consumers’ ongoing budgetary concerns.”
Shoppers are also approaching grocery shopping in a very measured manner, as they feel the need to budget and spend prudently. To that end, many shoppers are making CPG decisions at home, even before they head into stores.
• More than two-thirds of shoppers enter the stores with ready-made lists
• A substantial and growing number of shoppers are combing circulars and coupons to find the best deals
• When in stores, two-thirds have cut back on “non-essential” grocery purchases
Consumers Click for Savings
The Internet is rapidly becoming an integral component of the downturn shopper’s money saving strategies. MarketPulse points to a steady rise in shoppers using the Internet to research products, download recipes and gather coupons.
• 26% of consumers research products on websites, an increase of two points from the previous quarter
• 39% of shoppers download recipes off websites and other online sources, versus 36% in the second quarter
• 37% of consumers download coupons from manufacturer websites, as compared to 35% in the previous quarter
“Retailers and manufacturers seeking to succeed and remain profitable in today’s challenging retail environment must consider implementing aggressive product and shopper marketing initiatives,” said John McIndoe, senior vice president of marketing, SymphonyIRI. “Most importantly, these initiatives must demonstrate value, not necessarily just based on price and convenience, but also on delivering relevance. To do so, CPG marketers must begin with a holistic shopper analysis, founded on an integrated analysis of frequent purchase data plus demographics, life stages, needs, usage and more.”
SymphonyIRI Times & Trends Webinar
SymphonyIRI is offering a free webinar, entitled “The Downturn Shopper: Buckled in for a Wild and Crazy Ride,” at 11:30 a.m. CT on Nov. 17, 2011. To register for the webinar, hosted by Ms. Viamari, visit: http://www.symphonyiri.com/NewsEvents/EventsWebinars/TheDownturnShopper/tabid/281/Default.aspx.