Study: Consumers’ new shopping patterns

New York American consumers have re-learned how to shop — and in the process reshaped the playing field for both consumer products marketers and packaged goods retailers, according to a new study by Deloitte and Harrison Group.

The study, titled "The 2010 American Pantry Study: The New Rules of the Shopping Game," found that the recession has made it necessary for Americans to rethink and adjust their shopping patterns, which has resulted in a more strategic, informed — and even calculating —approach to a shopping game previously driven by impulse, advertising responsiveness and the fundamental attractiveness of brands.  Ninety-two percent of people surveyed have changed their grocery shopping behavior in the last two years.  In particular, 89% said they have become more resourceful while 84% say they are more precise when they shop.

In addition, the survey showed that while this new shopping approach is generally based on spending less, approximately 2-out-of-3 (65% ) people do not feel like they are sacrificing much. In fact, 79% reported feeling smarter about the way they shop versus two years ago. Moreover, consumers have embraced a persistent recessionary mindset, as 93% surveyed said they will remain cautious and keep spending at their current level, even if the economy improves.

The study also uncovered that loyalty cards are very important to shoppers with 84% reporting having at least one, and 65% describing them as an "essential/very important" money-saving method.

According to consumers surveyed, coupons are another popular tool with 67% of people increasing their coupon usage and finding them across a variety of media outlets including: newspapers (59%), mail (54%), store (53% ) and online (41% ).

We continue to witness consumers creating a whole new rule book and skill set for shopping that's based on value, not boasting of brands," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and Deloitte's consumer products practice leader in the United States. "Our analysis concludes that personal gratification and a desire to feel smart about what consumers are putting in their shopping carts are trumping brand satisfaction, and that price-consciousness, value-orientation and bargain-hunting will remain prevalent for years to come."

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