2009 State of the Economy Part 1

I think that I’ll feature some occasional updates on the State of the Economy this year. Here’s the first one as we wrap up the month:

Study Explores the Grocery Shopper’s State of Mind

To cope with the current economic state, consumers say, they eat out less/eat in more, turn down the thermostat, are “more efficient with…shopping trips,” and buy less name brand products/buy in bulk, according to the first American Grocery Shopper Study from BrandSpark International’s Best New Product Awards (BNPA), writes Retailer Daily.

The survey of more than 50,000 US shoppers sought to understand shoppers’ current and future spending habits, brand preferences, attitudes toward organics and environmental accountability, and a profile of today’s “early adopter” shopper.

Below, some of the findings of the study issued at a joint New York presentation by Better Homes and Gardens and BrandSpark.

Consumer Spending and Confidence

Some of the top lifestyle changes that US grocery shoppers are making to cope with the recession:

  • 52% said they plan to eat at home more often than last year.
  • 96% considered it important that any new product provide them value for the dollar.
  • More than 80% said they will spend the same or more on essential personal care products as they did last year.
  • Asked to name their most trusted grocery-store brands, shoppers placed Kraft at the top of the list, followed by Campbell’s, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Betty Crocker, Del Monte, Tide and Clorox.

Green and Natural Products

  • 70% are motivated to buy products that are better for the environment, but only 40% are willing to pay more for those products.
  • 75% believe that some companies are exploiting environmentally friendly claims for marketing purposes.
  • 58% consider it important for a new product they purchase to be “natural.”
  • 78% believe that manufacturers have a long way to go to reduce the amount of packaging.

Health and Wellness

  • Shoppers revealed health as a greater priority, with 68% reporting increasing concerns about their health.
  • Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about chemicals in products: 68% expressed increased concern about chemicals in food products; 63% in household products; 57% in skin-care products.
  • Over 80% of respondents believe that making better food choices can prevent illness.
  • 71% of consumers are concerned about the added health claims of products they purchase.

Early Adopters

The survey revealed that “early adopters” show stronger brand loyalty and prefer products that are environmentally friendly and offer improved technology and innovation.

  • 80% of shoppers who qualify as “early adopters” (first to try new products) are women.
  • In relation to the larger shopper demographic, early adopters are more receptive to the influence of internet, social media and magazines: early adopters spend 50% more time per week reading magazines and 50% have downloaded coupons off the internet

About the findings: The Best New Product Awards survey was conducted between November 17 and December 19, 2008. The survey included questions about individual product appeal, intent to repurchase, consumer confidence level, expected future spending habits, and a number of other insight provoking queries. In total, a sample of 51,295 qualified grocery shoppers were surveyed, weighted (MRI) by region, language, age, and gender. This year, 77 products were evaluated, with 23 winners chosen from 38 leading manufacturers in categories that included cereal, juice, ice cream, anti-aging skin care, oral care, mascara, shampoo and household cleaners. Each category had a minimum of three products from at least two different manufacturers. In order to win, the product had to score highest on product appeal and also highest on re-purchase intent among those who had purchased the product.


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