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More than half of global consumers shy away from trying new grocery, personal and household products during an economic downturn and the majority also opt for less expensive brands of the products they are using, according a recent Ipsos study on global consumer attitudes and behavior that covered 18 countries around the world.

The study found that while consumers are wary overall of trying new products when they sense the economy is slowing down, new beauty products are especially vulnerable: 70% of global consumers say they are not likely to try a new beauty product when the economy is bad:

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In addition to new products being at low risk of trial, established brands are in danger of low repeat, Ipsos said. Eight in ten (80%) of respondents say they are very or somewhat likely to switch from their usual brands to lower-priced brands or brands that are on sale during an economic downturn and 72% say they would switch to store or generic brands:

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“It is discouraging to think that new product introductions and carefully planned brand strategies might suffer from bad timing,” says Sunando Das, VP at Ipsos Marketing’s Global Consumer Goods business. “But Marketers must remember that innovation and brand management are continuous internal processes that cannot be disrupted by external events, even recessions. That is not to say that these processes should not be flexible and adaptive. During economic downturns, Marketers must uncover new consumer needs and seek out opportunities to fulfill these needs.”

Though this study shows that it is more difficult to persuade consumers to make purchases during tough economic times, Ipsos suggests that marketers must focus on the value aspect of their products because it is a typically a higher priority for consumers during an economic downturn.

Efforts can also be made to help consumers replicate more expensive “out-of-home” experiences with products they can use at home for less money, Ipsos said.

The study findings are consistent with other research that has been conducted on the topic. A study by the makers of Tiger Balm showed that consumers are cutting back on self-pampering indulgences while looking for lower-cost ways to experience them at home; Information Resources, Inc.’s list of “power brands” is catering to the do-it-yourself crowd, and Miller Zell found that both women and men are cutting back on consumer products and dining out during the recession.

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