retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Retail Forward’s new ShopperScape survey shows that “shoppers are limiting spending on food and other household necessities, trading down (in terms of both products and retailers), seeking deals and shifting their grocery shopping and eating patterns.” Perhaps more significant, the survey suggests that some changed behaviors could end up being permanent, such as “buying fewer items that seem ‘just too expensive,’ buying fewer items on impulse, coupon-clipping and using store circulars to plan the shopping trip.”

“The results of our survey signal the need for food, drug and mass retailers and their manufacturer partners to prepare now and adapt to a ‘new normal’ in shopping behavior,” said Kelly Tackett, a senior consultant with Retail Forward and author of the survey report.

KC's View:
I tend to be a little skeptical about the use of the word “permanent,” simply because if we were to go into a decade-long period of prosperity, I’m not sure that people wouldn’t go back to previous behaviors.

They talk about how an entire generation was shaped in its attitudes by the experience of living through the Depression, but I’m not entirely sure that we’ve gotten to that point just yet. We may get there…but that remains to be seen. (When lines at the local food bank are longer than lines at Starbucks or the Apple Store, maybe I’ll change my mind on this.)

That said, I do think that reports like these – which don't exactly break new ground but rather cement previous conclusions and impressions – need to be taken seriously. People are conscious about what they are spending, and retailers need to cater to this trend.