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Study: Consumers less confident, spending less


Columbus, Ohio A study released Tuesday by BIGresearch, that analyzed data from 2006 to 2009, revealed that while 43.4% of consumers were either confident or very confident in the economy in September 2006, that percentage dropped to 29.8% in September 2009.

Practicality is on the rise, as nearly half (49.7%) of those surveyed said they are more practical in purchases than they were three years ago (39.7%).

As a way of coping with financial stressors on their budget, such as fluctuating gas prices, consumers say they are doing “more” of the following at a higher rate than just three years ago: buying store brands (35.3%, September 2009 versus 23.5%, September 2006), shopping for sales (43.1% versus 32.6%), shopping online (14.5% versus 11.1%) and using coupons (39.2% versus 22.5%).

They are also more likely to only buy clothing when it’s on sale, a shopping strategy carried out by almost a quarter (24.4%) of consumers in 2009 (versus 15.6% in 2006).

The percentage of consumers planning to make major purchases is off from 2006 for the following: house (3.3% versus 4.2%), vacation (12.3% versus 14.6%) and vehicle (9.5% versus 11.3%). The average planned expenditure for a vehicle in September 2009 is $19,718, lower than September 2008 ($20,796) and September 2007 ($20,979).

“What we are seeing is a changed consumer,” said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch. “The faltering economy, employment worries and questions about who’s going to pay for healthcare are really weighing on the consumer’ psyche. And if they do as they say, marketers will be dealing with a changed consumer that is less inclined to spend for the next several years.”

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