Shoppers retain frugal habits despite improving economy

by Monica Watrous
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NEW YORK – Despite economic recovery, 94% of consumers said they will continue to spend cautiously on groceries, according to Deloitte’s 2013 American Pantry Study.

Ninety-two per cent of consumers reported they have become more resourceful, and 72% said they don’t feel like they are sacrificing much with a lower grocery bill.

Additionally, 88% of shoppers said they have found several store brands that are suitable swaps for national brands, and less than a third plan to switch back to national brands as the economy rebounds.

“One of the most notable year-over-year trends in the study is how embedded frugality has become due to the recession,” said Pat Conroy, vice-chairman of Deloitte L.L.P. and consumer products sector leader. “Prudent consumers and improving perceptions about store brands are squeezing national brands’ position. The gap between the few ‘must have’ brands on shoppers’ lists and others on the shelf may be widening, making it more important for brands to differentiate through innovation, quality and performance. Consumer product companies may also consolidate low and mid-level performers and shift investment to the category leaders.”

Brand loyalty slid for the third consecutive year in the survey as more consumers opt for on-sale items.

Loyalty card use has increased, with 39% of consumers having three or more grocery loyalty cards, up from 28% in 2010. Fifty-eight per cent of shoppers said they use loyalty cards during every grocery store visit.

The study also revealed opportunity for growth in on-line grocery shopping, with 14% of consumers reporting they shop on-line with in-store pickup and 11% saying they buy on-line with home delivery.

The study was conducted on-line in January 2013 and polled 4,047 consumers.
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