Budget shoppers serious about savings

November 24, 2009

On the heels of Black Friday, Mintel finds majority of Americans trying to spend less
Chicago (November 24, 2009)–The biggest shopping day of the year is just around the corner and a new survey from market researcher Mintel paints a dismal picture for retailers. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say they’re budgeting more than they did last year, and almost no one claims to be budgeting less. This comes on top of similar claims to budget tightening last year.
“Coming off a year of fluctuating stocks, rising unemployment and a persistent recession, it’s not surprising that shoppers still haven’t loosened their purse strings,” comments Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel. “People remember last year’s deep holiday discounts, so despite retailers saying they won’t slash prices as severely this year, many shoppers might hold off on hitting the stores.”
Chris Haack points out, however, that many budget shoppers look for deals, sales and coupons, so Black Friday specials might be just what the doctor ordered to get them spending. “Strict budgeting practices are nowhere near as popular as more opportunistic money-saving tactics,” he says. Mintel found just 19% of people follow a strict budget for clothing, but over half say they watch for sales in newspaper ads, use coupons or seek out sale products advertised in store flyers.
Additionally, a majority of shoppers told Mintel they always look at sale items before shopping for non-sale items. This is especially true in department stores (64%), at mass merchandisers (53%) and at discount apparel stores (53%). Four in 10 shoppers go on to say they spend a lot of time looking for clothing sales and shopping around to get the lowest price.
“We’re all bargain hunters in today’s economy,” states Chris Haack. “People want to feel like they’re getting a deal, and they’ve basically come to expect sales. It’s up to merchandisers to create marketing specials that meet bottom lines, while making shoppers think they’re stealing away with a great find.”
Mintel asked survey respondents where they’ll spend their “extra” money (once bills have been paid and necessities bought) and 13% said holiday shopping. Another one in four (23%) said they’d buy small extras for family members, and 9% said they’d spend “extra” money on jewelry, clothing or personal items for themselves.
In July 2008, 60% of survey respondents told Mintel they were budgeting more than in 2007

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