Consumers Increase ‘Prudent’ Shopping Behaviors

May 8, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Financial Services | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Retail & E-Commerce

A high percentage of US consumers are comparison shopping, seeking advice before making purchases and participating in discount and rewards programs, according to a national study of American spending habits by Bank of America. These behaviors are especially prevalent among consumers who say they are saving more of their money.

Retailer Daily reports that Bank of America Consumer Purchasing and Savings Habits survey reveals an increase in the following “prudent” purchasing behaviors, which are more common among consumers who are saving more of their money now -? rather than less – than they were in January 2009:

  • 75% of consumers saving more of their money are doing more research and comparison shopping prior to making a purchase, vs. 69% of those saving less.
  • 62% of consumers saving more of their money are seeking more advice to make sure what they buy is the best product for them, vs. 42% of those saving less.
  • 79% of those saving more of their money are dining in more often, vs. 70% of those saving less.
  • 67% of those saving more of their money are entertaining at home more often, vs. 54% of those saving less.
  • 44% of those saving more of their money are taking advantage of rewards clubs and programs with retailers, vs. 38% of those saving less.

“We’re seeing consumers increasingly trying to make smarter purchasing decisions and trying to achieve their savings goals,” said

Dan Ariely, Duke University professor and author of Predictably Irrational. “What we also see is that consumers who are successful at saving are the ones who are taking the time to pause before they shop and leveraging the tools available to help them save. What is somewhat puzzling is that not all consumers are taking what seem to be very simple steps toward saving.”The study also found that nine in ten Americans use discounts and promotions to assist in their shopping needs, with nearly 60%? spending more time than ever before looking for such deals. Increasingly, consumers are turning to the Web to locate discounts and coupons (37%); the average consumer spends more than one hour online searching for these deals. Some 45% of those surveyed would likely take advantage of a centralized shopping website that offers routine savings for shopping at major retailers’ Web sites.The survey also confirmed that Americans are continuing to struggle with saving money. Only four in 10 say they are saving more than they did three months ago, and among those who are saving less, 65%? are putting less toward general savings accounts and 26%? are putting less toward retirement savings accounts.Overall, managing day-to-day expenses and findings ways to save represent the biggest financial challenges Americans are facing in today’s economy (40%), Bank of America said.Another recent study on consumer price sensitivity from The Gordman Group echoes the results of the Bank of America study. The “Retail Trend Tracker Survey” shows that price is the most popular factor affecting consumer apparel and home goods purchases. Consumers’ heightened interest in searching for the lowest prices most likely contributed to Wal-Mart’s record net sales in fiscal 2009, as well as expansion plans this year by dollar and overstock retailers including Dollar General and Big Lots.

About the survey: The research was administered as a 22-question telephone survey to 1,000 adult Americans. Interviews were conducted by Braun Research from March 23 to March 27, 2009.? Results are weighted, and projectable to, the general U.S. adult population. Dan Ariely, Duke University professor of Behavioral Economics, assisted in analyzing survey results.

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