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Consumers willing to spend more for convenience, says market research

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 31-Aug-2009

Some consumers are beginning to turn back to choosing convenience over price, according to new research from marketing firms The Integer Group and M/A/R/C.

Many market analysts have noted a shift in consumer shopping habits since the beginning of the global economic downturn, including a move away from branded foods, increased coupon-cutting, and more meal planning as consumers stay at home to eat more often. However, The Checkout, the latest collaborative report on consumer shopping behavior from the two marketing companies, found that despite an increase in planning meals and shopping trips, consumers have become more interested over the past few months in products that they perceive to offer convenience.

The monthly survey questioned 1200 adults and found that in May, 23 percent said they would choose to spend more money in order to save time, compared to 28 percent in June. Moreover, the proportion of consumers who said that their top priority is shopping around in order to save money fell from 33 percent in May to 28 percent in June.

“Manufacturers should ensure that they’re top of mind, because more shoppers are preparing lists, doing research and comparing prices online, and cutting back on impulse purchases,” the report said. “However, convenience-seeking continues to rise, with “I will pay more if my life is made easier” jumping by 8 percent since February.”

The report also found that consumers are placing more emphasis on being able to get all of their shopping in a single trip, which the authors attributed to rising gas prices over the summer.

“The gap between convenience and saving money is widening,” said the report. “…June saw an impressive jump in shoppers wanting to get everything in a single trip (up 5 percent from April), while a focus on spending as little as possible continues to decline.”

Thirty-one percent of respondents to the June survey said that buying everything they need in one trip was their top priority, while those who said the same of spending as little as possible was down to 22 percent, from 28 percent in February.

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