Consumer shopping behavior has changed in the past four years due to the free fall of the U.S. stock market, increased unemployment, corporate and religious scandals and the aftermath of September 11, according toWSL Strategic Retail, New York, NY. In its report, “How America shops 2004: pushing back,” WSL noted consumers are shopping in more places, up to 2.6 outlets a week from 1.9 outlets in 2002, but their approach is different.
WSL said discount retailers have re-defined “value” as the “new normal.” Consumers are being cautious (“pushing back”) and are focusing spending on education, savings/investments and shopping instead of more self-indulgent items such as leisure travel and entertainment. Consumers are opting to get more under one roof, shopping more at places where they can get the best value and the most done, without giving up the excitement and thrill of the hunt, researchers said. For example, 59% of respondents said, “Before I buy something now, I stop to ask myself, ‘Is this a smart use of my money?’”
In 2004, 63% of American women had shopped a supercenter in the previous 90 days, up from 32% in 2000. Sixty-two percent of women at all income levels had shopped at dollar stores in the previous three months, up from 56% in 2002. More than half of respondents had gone to a warehouse club in the previous 90 days, up from 35% in 2000 and 47% in 2002. WSL said this new shopping behavior leaves supermarkets, department stores and drug stores at risk. More info: (212) 924-7780; Website: www.wslstrategicretail.com.