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    Charleston, SC – Cost-conscious consumers focused on do-it-yourself projects and delayed most discretionary retail spending in October according to America’s Research Group’s Consumer Mind Reader™.

    Discount stores and drug stores once again topped the list as the most popular stores among retail shoppers, but home improvement stores bounced back into a tie for third place with national department stores. Hardware stores also appeared in the top 10 list of most popular categories, while apparel stores fell from the rankings.

    “Belt-tightening on the part of consumers began in earnest in October,” said Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America’s Research Group. “Rather than being on the lookout for new products and services, they were saving money by fixing up around the house for themselves.”

    Discount apparel stores remained in the list but slipped from fourth to fifth place in popularity. Online purchases also showed a decline, sliding from fifth to seventh place. Membership warehouse clubs maintained their position as eighth most popular retail category and auto parts retailers moved from tenth to ninth. Hardware stores rounded out the top 10 most popular retail draws.

    The Consumer Mind Reader survey is conducted every other month by America’s Research Group, and includes telephone interviews with 1,000 shoppers nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent.

    America’s Research Group, which conducts customized surveys for retail, manufacturing and service clients across North America, tracks the buying habits of the nation’s shoppers more than any other research firm in the country. More information on the Consumer Mind Reader and other surveys is available at www.predatory.com.

    A listing of the top 10 most popular retail stores for October, 2005 follows.

    1. Discount Stores - 86.7%
    2. Drug Stores - 56.1%
    3. National Department Stores - 28.2% (tie for 3rd)
    4. Home Improvement Stores - 28.2% (tie)
    5. Discount Apparel Stores - 26.4%
    6. Appliance/Electronics/Computer Stores - 25.1%
    7. Internet - 24.4 %
    8. Membership Warehouse Clubs - 20.7%
    9. Auto Parts Stores - 18.2%
    10. Hardware Stores - 16.8 %