The recession has made US consumers shop around for good deals and carefully weigh up the merits of brands says a new survey – but it says quality still comes first.
Food is essential to human life, but although they still have to eat, the grim economic climate has forced consumers to reassess their spending habits.
For its new survey, Real Estate Information Systems was interested to uncover Americans’ changing priorities when shopping for food and health and beauty products. It conducted telephone interviews with 4000 US citizens of all income levels – from $20,000 a year to $100,000 and more.
Some aspects of shopping were deemed non-negotiable by many respondents. For instance, a high premium is placed on nutrition, and people seem unwilling to go without meat, poultry or coffee in order to economize. Overall, 72 percent said they consider quality over price when they visit the grocery store.
But despite these die-hard principles, the respondents did indicate that they are changing their habits in some respects. Forty-nine percent reported shopping around at more stores to get the best deal, and 35 percent said they have changed grocery stores to save money.
Some 52 percent even said they are reducing the volume of food purchased from the grocery store. In particular, prepared food, individual beverages and clothing were said to be products people thought they could do without.
Spending the spare
Although the main results were taken across all income groups, the survey did uncover some differences in the respondents’ priorities according to income.
Forty-five percent of those earning less than $20k per year wanted foods that keep them full for longer.
And if they had an extra $10 to spend, 13 percent of shoppers earning less than $45K would buy more convenient versions of foods they buy already, such as pre-cut carrots; only 9 percent of shoppers on a higher income said the same thing.
Of those earning more than $45k, 19 percent would spend the extra $10 on natural or organic versions of foods they are already buying.
And the top items for a windfall splurge? Desserts.