Consumers curb their instant gratification urges

Stacy Graiko

Black Friday sales were up .5% from last year and retailers have high hopes for Cyber Monday. But the really good news for retailers might be yet to come: Interbrand noted that 51% of consumers said they will shop later this year and our own research bears that out:  our shopper focus groups throughout November told us their frugality is wearing thin but they’ll be waiting longer to shop this year, banking on last-minute deals in the malls and online. The recession has caused them to fight their urge for instant gratification: an urge that ruled the first decade of the 2000s.

Our shopper groups are comprised of department store shoppers with household incomes between $35-150K. Among these groups, some have experienced household budget shortfalls due to job loss and cost of living increases, though a fair number have not. The pervading sentiment is that they have tightened their household belts for close to a year and are looking for some relief – with or without a change in their household situation (e.g. a sudden influx of cash). But this need to loosen up and indulge in a little holiday spending is outweighed by the need to spend wisely and get the best deals- and they’re willing to wait days and even weeks to ensure that they do. Department store shoppers in our groups plan to shop around online and in-store this year, looking for the best deal regardless of the channel. And shoppers are more savvy than ever, employing bargaining strategies and combining coupons and promotions to get the best deals possible.

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