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Marketing Daily reports on a new study from BDO USA suggesting that “as retailers gain confidence in the strength of the economic recovery, their worries are shifting ... Consumer confidence, which worried them last year at this time, has dropped way down on the list. But dependency on consumer trends -- figuring out what shoppers want to buy -- has jumped up, and was mentioned as a concern by 87% of stores.”

In other words, retailers are less concerned about people not having money to buy stuff, and more concerned about staying in synch with the trends that affect what people want to buy. Which means that a lot of retailers are focusing on things such as online marketing and social media, and "shifting away from the defensive recessionary mode.”
KC's View:
No question, there is some sort of recovery in the making. And there is a customer segment that has some money and is willing to spend it.

But I’m not sure that this segment is as big as it used to be. There have been plenty of studies reported here on MNB indicating that even the affluent are concerned about saving money, and are buying smarter with less attention paid to branding and status. (Sure, some people have $500,000 revolving credit lines at Tiffany’s ... but not most people.)

Part of this is memory - people haven’t forgotten the “too big to fail” experience yet. Part of this is having to pay four bucks a gallon for gasoline, and a sense that things are out of control.

Anyone not paying attention to recessionary mindsets - at least to some degree - makes a potentially serious mistake. You don’t have to let it dictate every decision, but it has to remain a factor in most retailing decisions.

Indeed, there is a new SymphonyIRI study out today saying that men - traditionally viewed as cluelessly wandering the supermarket, prone to impulse purchases and with very little idea of how to shop efficiently - have gotten a lot better in the last few years.

According to the study, “difficult economic conditions have prompted consumers to become more conservative and self reliant in many ways. While fewer men are making changes versus women, the ranks of those adapting remain significant.”

For example: SymphonyIRI says that 35 percent of men shop at multiple stores to find the lowest prices; 35 percent of men purchase only needed items, rather than stocking up, to keep weekly budget in check; 31 percent of men buy more “all purpose” cleaning supplies to reduce the number of items needed.

In addition, 54 percent of men eat out less often; 44 percent of men make cleaning products last longer; 27 percent of men go to the doctor less often and are self treating more; 19 percent of men use at-home beauty treatments more (e.g. hair coloring, facials).

I’m not sure about that beauty treatment figure, but other than that, it all makes sense ... especially because it is generally conceded that men took the brunt of the recession in a way that women did not.

And the implication is that if men can and do save money when shopping, it is trend to which attention must be paid.