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Consumers Want to Be "Mindful' Spenders

May 4, 2016

WSL report finds shoppers want value and convenience.

The improved economy has enabled many consumers to feel more financially secure and has increased their willingness to shop — however, retailers, from mass to luxury, continue to struggle with store traffic and sales.
 
According to Wendy Liebmann, WSL Strategic Retail’s CEO and Chief Shopper, “The reason why retail sales growth continues to be challenging is that American shoppers are now spending differently based on a new set of priorities. They want to be more financially responsible, lead a less stressful life and spend more time with family.   This is US retail’s new competition for dollars.“
 
According to WSL, 55% women say their #1 spending priority is paying off debt, followed by saving (48%), then vacations (35%). Shoppers are now simplifying their everyday routines which is impacting their spending:  8/10 said they are simplifying how they take care of their homes, and are making easier meals, 7/10 are adopting simpler beauty routines, 2/3 are staying home more, 6/10 are spending less time shopping, and 1/2 are cutting back on social media. 
 
“Americans across demographics are not spending as they did on traditional categories and in retailers as they have in the past”, says Candace Corlett, WSL’s president.  “They are buying happiness rather than buying more stuff.  That is especially true of millennials.
 
The Top 10 “feel good” retailers rated by shoppers were (in descending order):  Amazon, Publix supermarkets, Victoria’s Secret, Costco, Sephora, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Ulta, Aldi, and Bath & Body Works. Retailers such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Safeway rated significantly lower.
 
This study, conducted as a nationwide online survey of 1,700 shoppers, is an instrumental tool for companies to understand shoppers’ attitudes and behaviors. It analyzes consumer demographics behind spending and what drives people to purchase, and where.