Thrifty spending continues

The latest Crunchonomics report shows that it’s extremely difficult to predict consumer spending habits. Earlier in the year we were told that people visiting the cinema was very much on the up as a cheaper alternative to a night out on the tiles.

But the latest figures show that cinema is going down 36%. Instead dvds are now the alternative to going out. A drop of disposable income is to blame

When it comes to food purchasing habits, the picture is even less clear. As we firmly enter the Christmas period the research indicates saving money is still very much on the agenda.

Priorities have already shifted with green slipping even further down the agenda, and loyalty cards rising up the ranks of importance with a quarter of shoppers believing such schemes are more important than three months ago.

The economic climate has also been an excuse used to eat less healthily with more than half (57%) eating less healthily because its cheaper.

But then the twist in the results – purchases fair trade and organic products, perhaps surprisingly are steady showing that the recession is having no further impact on sales. Values are clearly not being compromised in these areas. Perhaps it shows the hard work from the likes of the Fair Trade foundation and organic advocates prior to the recession are paying dividends. While shoppers feel they can eat less premium ranges of food in general, those brands with a fair trade label are making their way into the shopping basket.

Almost a fifth (18%) are spending less money on the top food ranges, while buying budget or value ranges has lept up to 36% since the summer months. Almost three quarters (72%) are now saying they buy these ranges. So budget produce is certainly not limited to students or families on limited funds any more. Nearly all of us have adopted some budget grocery shopping behaviour.

However, supermarket own brand products still doesn’t have quite the same lure as well known brands. More than a quarter (28%) say they are more likely to spend money on these types of brands.

Overall confidence has picked up since the last Crunchonomics survey, which ran six months ago, but so far this hasn’t lead to increased spending. But perhaps the next wave of Crunchonomics research is set to show confident spending aligned with a confident consumer.

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