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Deloitte survey finds consumers more optimistic; looking to shop more at discount stores


New York -- More than half of consumers (67%) said they plan to spend the same or more at retailers than they did last year, a nine percentage point increase from last year, according to the 2012 Spring Consumer Pulse Survey by Deloitte. Consumers also feel slightly better about the economy this year than last; 57% of survey respondents said the economy has been recently recovering, compared with 52% last year.

Discount stores were the overwhelming favorite when consumers were asked which retail venue they expected to shop more in 2012 than last year, with 72% of respondents selecting this category. Online-only retailers was a distant second (35%), followed by dollar stores and warehouse clubs (tied at 33%).

The survey confirms the increasing popularity of digital channels. Almost two-thirds (65%) said they are shopping more online to get the best product or price, up 13% points from last year. And in deciding what to buy, 45% said they rely more on online recommendations/comments from others than they do marketing messages from retailers.

Social networking and mobile activity are up, with 46% of smartphone owners indicating they have used phones to research product prices online – up 10 percentage points from 2011. And 45% of respondents said they interact with retailers through social networking sites.

Despite the positive sentiments, however, inflation remains a top concern.

When asked what might cause them to hold back spending in the months ahead, 76% said higher prices generally, followed by higher energy costs (69%) and higher medical bills (44 %).

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