65% of US Consumers Plan Splurge; Electronics Top List

December 22, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers say they are planning to splurge on an item in the next three months, according to a December 2009 spending intentions survey by Market Force Information.

The most-often cited items for splurges are electronics, travel and apparel, the study found.

Splurge items ranked by popularity:

  • TV/Blu-ray/DVD/accessories ( 14.7%)
  • Travel/vacation (13.9%)
  • Computer/accessories (11.5%)
  • Apparel/shoes/purse/jewelry (9.6%)
  • Entertainment/video games/music ( 6.2%)
  • Car/accessories (5.3%)
  • Furniture (5.3%)
  • Home improvement (5.2%)

Early Sign of Attitude Shift?

When respondents were asked the question “Will you watch every penny in 2010, relax the purse strings a bit, or spend more freely on the things you want?” one in four consumers reported they would relax the purse strings a bit more and/or spend more freely. However, that figure jumped to one in three consumers when they were asked to guess what they thought their friends and neighbors planned to do:


This disparity between what respondents plan to do themselves and what they anticipate their friends will do is often an early sign of an attitude shift, according to Market Force’s analysts. “In today’s climate when being frugal is considered an important personal attribute, consumers are not inclined to tell strangers that they plan to splurge or increase their spending,” the company said. “But, if consumers are asked what they think their friends or neighbors will do, they have no such restraint. This question can often indicate likely behavior as attitudes begin to shift.”

Despite expectations that they and their friends would open their wallets, two-thirds of consumers still said they were planning on cutting back in one or more areas and focusing their spending on things that they really want. The areas mentioned most frequently for cutbacks:

  • Dining out (32%)
  • Apparel/shoes/accessories (11%)
  • Non-necessities (10%)
  • Food/groceries (7%)
  • Entertainment (7%)

Market Force analysts say this finding is significant because clothing/accessories was targeted by almost equal numbers of consumers for both splurging and cutting back. “This sign of conflict likely arises between the desire to buy that one special item and the overall commitment to not buy things unless they really, really have to,” Market Force said, noting that while consumers will continue to be cautious, they appear more willing to splurge on items that catch their fancy.

About the survey: The survey was conducted in early December 2009 among the Market Force network of more than 300,000 independent mystery shoppers and merchandisers. The pool of 3,000 who responded to the survey ranged in age from 19 to 72, and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels. Approximately 75% were women and half had children at home.

45th Parallel Design Ad

Explore More Charts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This