According to the recent SymphonyIRI Group’s MarketPulse survey, shoppers became more optimistic in Q4 2011, with an increase among those believing the economy improved in the last six months and will continue to strengthen during the first six months of 2012.
However, Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI, notes that “... the vast majority of shoppers... have no plans to change their conservative shopping behaviors in the near future... (so) the influence of both traditional and new media on shopper decisions continues to grow... ”
20% of surveyed shoppers stated they expect the economy to improve during the next six months, a jump of 4 percentage points over Q3. Those believing their personal financial condition will be “a lot better” or “a little better” totaled 27% in Q4. 32% of wealthier consumers consumers, though, feel that their personal financial position will become stronger in the coming year.
Despite shoppers’ more optimistic view of the economy and their personal financial conditions, feelings around job stability have remained fairly unchanged throughout 2011, with 16% of consumers expecting improvement in the coming year. But, persistent pessimism is revealed in the growing ranks of those expecting deterioration of job stability.
18% of consumers indicated expectations for diminishing job security in the coming year, says the report. While expectations for the overall cost of living are not quite as rosy as they were in Q1 2011, 21% noted in the Q4 survey that the amount they will be able to put into their personal savings for the next year will improve. 21% expect the value of their investments to rise, and 16% expect their ability to get credit to become easier. In the most recent quarter, 16% of consumers expect their ability to save will deteriorate “greatly,” and 11% expect their home real estate value to fall “greatly.”
A cornerstone to shoppers’ conservative behavior continues to be the deal, says the report.
Digital Media Usage In Shopping (% of Respondents; Q4 2011)
% of Respondents, Q4
Coupons from manufacturer websites
Coupons from retailer websites
Coupons from couponing websites
Research products on websites
Visit online deal sites
Source: SymphonyIRI, January 2012
Shoppers made brand decisions based on a wide range of traditional and new media influences throughout 2011, says the study. Among traditional media:
Influence of new media is currently below that of the more traditional forms of communication and promotion, but these new means of reaching shoppers are growing quickly, notes the report:
For additional information from SymphonyIRI, and to access a free copy of the report, please visit here.