Pandemic Creates New Breed Of Budget Shopper

Gone is the stereotype of the female coupon-cutter: since January 2020, today’s budget-conscious consumers have evolved to include 14% more men and 60% more parents, according to a new study by Mediahub.

The survey found these budget shoppers (some 42 million in all) are mostly millennials and affluent, with 59% making more than $100,000 per year.

Over 90% have changed their shopping behaviors to save money due to COVID-19. However, while price-conscious consumers are more willing than overall Americans to explore new brands during the pandemic, they are still staying loyal to the brands that practice their values.

To that end, budget-conscious consumers are 37% more likely than the overall population to have switched from their primary brand to a new brand across industries since the beginning of the pandemic.  And 63% will rally behind and be vocal about the brands that take a stand. Sixty percent are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that supports sustainability.



More than half (53%) say if they are aware of specific boycotts, they care and support brands joining the cause.

While national brands might save them more money, many are increasingly supporting local businesses. Two in three (32%) are prioritizing shopping with small businesses, 30% are opting for sustainable/clothing resale sites, 25% are buying from Black-owned businesses, and 21% shop with charitable brands.

The research suggests that for brands trying to weather the recession, social action/values-led advertising can lead to brand loyalty amid a time of mass-switching.

“Budget-conscious consumers have historically been viewed as ‘single-issue shoppers,’ with price as the primary driver of their purchase decisions,” states Jih-Chieh Yun, assistant communications planner, Mediahub. “But as consumers embrace essentialism, they are rewriting the rules of what it means to be a budget-conscious shopper.”

It is important to note shoppers still remain practical. Four in 10 admit to changing their fashion, beauty, or retail store simply because their favorite place was out of stock for their preferred items. Nearly a quarter did so because their preferred merchant was not open.

Shoppers are also expanding the places they go to for product search and purchase, which allows brands to center themselves beyond the Instagram/Facebook ecosystem. More than half of budget shoppers (45%) have turned to online forums and communities on sites like TikTok, Twitter, Reddit and Depop for product inspiration, reviews and commerce. More than three-quarters “pride” themselves on sharing their opinions about products with friends.

The agency tapped its proprietary Scout consumer research tool to survey 1,000 US shoppers this summer.

Read more from the report here.
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