Uncertainty Is The Prevailing Consumer Attitude

Uncertainty Is The Prevailing Consumer Attitude

A recent executive briefing from BIGresearch, Economic & Consumer Insights for Marketing Excutives, covering a survey conducted between April 5th and 12th, concludes that consumers are hanging tough in a sluggish economic environment. The report notes that uncertainty is holding back full blown consumer confidence. Since the last study, there has been a slight increase in those who think economy will be back to normal within 6 months, 21.5% vs. 20.6%, and 58.5% say 6 months to more than 1 year. Consumer confidence is off slightly in April (-4.3%) in spite of fact that more people say they are employed than in March and fewer are concerned with being laid off.

Shopping attitudes are shifting slightly, the report concludes. More people in April say familiar labels are important when buying clothes 34.7% vs. 29% in March, the highest level of the year. However, 81.4% say they usually or only buy clothing when it's on sale vs. 79.4% for March. Consumers quest for bargains will squeeze margins of apparel manufacturers further.

More people say they spent more at discount stores in the last 30 days vs. department stores 13.8% vs. 6.9%. The challenge for department stores is that the majority of customer age demographics is 45+. Upscale specialty stores continue to feel the brunt of consumers value oriented shopping preferences, since only 1.9% say they shopped them more in the last 30 days, while 52.5% say they shopped there less. All household goods are getting an additional boost from the housing market. Consumers are confident that interest rates will stay low over next several months, 62% say 3 months or longer. Vacation travel plans are continuing to show strength with 27.7% planning vacation travel. Other strong performers anticipated over the next 90 days are groceries, home improvement and lawn and garden. Apparel is not prominent in consumer spending plans.

Source: BIGresearch2002 For a complete copy of the Executive Briefing send an e-mail request to jim@bigresearch.com

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