After nearly three years of dealing with the recession, Americans are still finding new ways to cut costs. According to a report, Americans have turned to nine tactics to help stretch their dollars during tough economic times.
These changes in consumer behavior present opportunities for businesses that may decide to tailor their product mix and marketing strategies to reach consumers who are increasingly finding ways to cut back — perhaps for good.
According to the report, conducted by SymphonyIRI, a consumer packaged goods consulting firm, here are the ways shoppers are continuing to trim their household spending:
- Bringing snacks to work — 42 percent of consumers have turned to bringing snacks or food from home to work in an attempt to save money.
- Making fewer trips to the doctor — 36 percent of people have reported going to the doctor less often and are instead turning to self-treatment.
- Skipping the spa — 35 percent have skipped the spa or salon and turned to home beauty treatments.
- Shopping with a list — More than 67 percent of respondents have been going to grocery stores with prepared shopping lists.
- Cutting back on nonessential groceries — Additionally, 66 percent of people have cut back on grocery purchases deemed nonessential.
- Cutting coupons — Increasing numbers of shoppers have turned to cutting out coupons as they read through weekly circulars.
- Researching products online — 26 percent of consumers now report researching products online before making a purchase.
- Cooking at home — 39 percent report downloading recipes off the Internet as people choose to stay home rather than dine out.
- Combining online research with clipping coupons — 37 percent of consumers have downloaded coupons from manufacturer' websites before purchasing items.
"In this prolonged down economy, nearly one in four consumers find it difficult to afford their weekly groceries," said Susan Viamari, editor of SymphonyIRI Times & Trends. "As a result, many consumers are adjusting their food and beverage related behaviors in an effort to save money. 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."
The information in the report is based on 2,000 responses to a survey taken in the third quarter of 2011.