The six faces of the post-recession consumer

In a series of focus groups with consumers from seven developed countries, research from TNS has identified six typical types of consumer response to the recession.

Initially in denial about the effects of the recession, these consumers were slow to realise its impact on them. They are now resigned to it and have adapted to continue enjoying life. Brands such as Coca-Cola appeal to them because they are optimistic and provide escape.

Arch-pragmatists, these consumers were positive from the start, and now use careful planning and co-operation to minimise the long-term effects on their finances. Levi’s has won them over with democratic messages that reinforce relationships.

These consumers reacted anxiously to recession, craving security and peace of mind. They now defend what they value most, though they no longer view the situation as a crisis. De Beers has given them reassurance with messages of unchanging values.

These consumers began as bargain hunters, looking for ways to win against the recessionary odds. They still exhibit similar attitudes as they fight to stave off their economic woes. Defiance is the key aspect that has endeared Diesel’s ‘Be stupid’ campaign to them.

Confident of their own ability to get through the economic storm, these consumers initially reacted with overt displays of wealth, which have receded as they have come to appreciate the suffering of those worse affected. Louis Vuitton has focused on heritage rather than luxury to emulate this shift.

These consumers learned from the recession, and now plan ahead to keep a handle on their finances. Procter & Gamble’s Ivory soap appeals to them, with its honest, minimalist messages that exude control.

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