Recession Concerns Cause 64% of US Adults to Cut Back Household Shopping

June 27, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce

Nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed in April 2008 say their households have cut back on spending in the last 12 months, according to the MarketTools May/June 2008 Insight Report on American Spending.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 US adults also reveals that cutbacks are not limited to those with lower incomes. Among affluent consumers with household incomes of $75,000 or more, 54% indicate they too have cut back spending.


Among categories of spending, dining out and entertainment have suffered the most cutbacks and are often the first to go when overall household spending is reduced.


Other findings:

  • 66% of all respondents say they have cut back on dining out in the past 12 months. Among affluent respondents with incomes of more than $75,000, 57% say they have reduced expenditures on dining out.
  • 61% have cut back on entertainment.
  • 57% have cut back on clothing and accessories.
  • 54% have cut spending on travel and vacations.
  • 48% have reduced spending on gifts.
  • 41% have reduced spending on technology products.

Despite economic pressures, consumers have actually increased their spending in certain categories in the past year: 24% of respondents indicate that they have increased spending on groceries and 16% have increased spending on prescription medications. However, research suggests these increases are the result of increases in national food and drug prices rather than increased consumption.

Americans have also changed their grocery shopping behavior in the last year, the research found. Top changes include a greater reliance on “store brands” instead of “name brands” (51%) and use of coupons more often than in the past (46%).


Additional behavioral changes in grocery shopping:

  • 44% of all respondents say they are shopping less frequently or stocking up.
  • 42% have switched to less expensive brands.
  • 39% are shopping closer to home to save on gasoline.
  • 35% are cooking more from scratch.
  • 33% are buying more at discount outlets.
  • 32% are buying more food to be used as leftovers.
  • Just 15% say they are shopping more at club stores, but 30% of more affluent consumers say they have been shopping more at club stores in the past year.

About the research: MarketTools Insight Reports regularly report findings on topical, national issues. May/June report data is based on an April 2008 survey of 1,000 online respondents drawn from ZoomPanel. Insight Report respondents are a nationally representative sampling of the US adult population, age 18+.

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