RETAILERS FACE MAJOR CHALLENGE IN DISCOUNT-DRIVEN CONSUMERS; NO BRIGHT SPOT FOR 2009 FOUND IN NEW SURVEY
Charleston, SC, January 14, 2009.... Consumers interviewed this weekend about their shopping patterns in December expressed their reluctance to buy anything more than the essentials, saying that they are feeling pressured by debt and credit card bills. The first America’s Research Group/UBS Consumer Mind Reader™ Survey this year revealed that more shoppers are buying only on-sale items and no one is buying new items not on sale. UBS has teamed with America’s Research Group (ARG) for bi-monthly Consumer Mind Reader™ surveys.
"Retailers are experiencing their most challenging time in three decades," said C. Britt Beemer, CEO and founder of ARG. "Our survey over the weekend confirmed that consumers are in deep hibernation and there is no sign that they will wake up this spring or that the retail outlook will pick up any time soon," he added.
A third (33.2%) of American consumers today, compared to 23.6% last year, said they are pressured by debt and credit card bills. Almost twenty-nine percent (28.8%) said they are buying only the essentials and on-sale items. This compares with 17.9% who were buying only essentials last year. Those buying new items not on sale are almost nil (4.8%) in 2009 from 10.8% last year.
In this atmosphere, many consumers are postponing major purchases. Of those who did postpone a purchase:
In general, consumers now don’t shop at stores that don’t help them save them money, thus discount stores and membership warehouse clubs are seeing more traffic; others less:
The America’s Research Group/UBS 2009 Consumer Mind Reader™ Survey consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 9-11, 2009, at America’s Research Group headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%.
America’s Research Group is one of the nation’s foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, a new book published by McGraw-Hill.
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