Friday, March 12, 2010

Shopping at the other side of recession

The U.S. market has been the engine of retail development for long, but will it continue to be. Several think tanks are releasing studies predicting remarkable changes in the way the americans will shop the years to come.

WSL Strategic Retail just released the preview of the 2010 How America Shops MegaTrends study.

"This recession wasn’t the beginning of a behavioral shift it was the end. After eight years of living through calamitous change that transformed the way Americans live and shop, the recession was the final curtain call," Candace Corlett President of WSL Strategic Retail continued.

As a result, according to WSL Strategic Retail, there are several guideposts that mark the future of shoppers' attitudes:

The End Is not Near: While some economists claim the recession is over, shoppers don’t believe it.The majority of those we surveyed believe their own personal recession will not end for at least one to two years.Discounting, lower-priced options, private label, smaller sizes, better value sizes, coupons, price-checking—anything that helps shoppers manage their weekly spending more effectively—will remain on their list.

Fear Is the Emotional Driver: Fear of the future is now a very powerful influence on how Americans live and shop. The optimism that defined Americans for decades is no longer embedded in the shoppers’ psyche.

Less Is More and It's OK: Having had to make do with less, shoppers realize they don’t need many of the things they used to buy, and many of the cheaper brands they’ve tried are just as good as the pricier ones they once bought.Shoppers went from regretting what they couldn’t afford to accepting what they could, and feeling smart about it.

The Joy of Shopping Is Still Real (for some): A good number of shoppers (4 in 10) still enjoy shopping – or at least the thought of it in principle.The connection, the emotion, the experience of shopping is still valued by many who have been forced in recent years to cut back spending, avoid places they may be tempted to overspend, and not browse at all.

The value factor is strong in the U.S. right now. The expected growth in private label at Wal-Mart is one example of this. In 2009 Wal-Mart made a realaunch of the Great Value brand and within three years PL percentage of sales could be up to 40 % as opposed to 16 % in 2009.

Another report on the same subject as the WSL Strategic Retail report, published by PWC is available by clicking here.o