For any retailer wondering why sales are still sluggish despite a sturdy economy and solid consumer confidence, a new report from WSL Retail boils it down to three words: Responsible. Easier. Enjoy. Those three represent what it’s calling “the new trinity of happiness” that many marketers have overlooked.
The research firm, which has been tracking how Americans shop bi-annually since the late 1980s, say Amazon, Publix, Victoria’s Secret, Costco, and Sephora are the five retailers most women say make them feel good while shopping.
“What we’re seeing is that even though the worst of the recession is now long ago, even young women in their 20s learned to say, 'I cut back and I didn't miss all that stuff. I didn’t really need that. It didn’t make me happy,’” says Candace Corlett, WSL’s president. “In fact, Millennials are especially eager to buy happiness rather than more stuff.”
And it turns out retailers’ competition isn’t other stores, but mortgages and student loans. Women say they want to be more financially responsible, with 55% eager to pay off debt and 48% looking to beef up savings.
They perceive themselves as highly stressed, so spending that makes life easier and simplifies home care or meal preparation is more valuable to them.
Eight out of 10 are simplifying how they care for their homes, for example, and about 70% are searching for ways to pare down beauty routines. Two-thirds are staying home more, and half say they are cutting back on social media.
“That’s a real wake-up call for our clients,” she tells Marketing Daily. “You can’t just say something is 'new and improved' and charge $1.50 more, or give her a fashion statement that’s just like something already in her closet and expect her to buy it. And it’s happened as a convergence of changes in the economy, society and what retailers offer. It’s been going on so long it isn’t a trend anymore. It’s a changed mindset.”
Whole Foods Markets, Nordstrom, Ulta, Aldi and Bath & Body Works also made the top-10 “feel good” retailers. She says Aldi, the limited-assortment supermarket, is a surprise marketers should take a closer look at: “They’re making it very easy to shop there and feel good about doing so.”