Spending behaviors shift

While it's certainly not news that high prices and economic fears are causing consumers to cut back, a new study of 500 consumers from Cramer-Krasselt finds that behaviors are shifting in ways few marketers may have expected, reports Marketing Daily. “This downturn is like no other in generations, not because of its severity, but because it has given rise to a new set of consumer beliefs,” says CEO Peter Krivcovich.  It isn't just that people are frustrated (as 50 percent of respondents are), worried (48 percent) or annoyed (29 percent). It isn't even that the sense of financial security is so weakened (61 percent feel less financially stable compared to a few years ago), and only 26 percent feel very secure about their financial future. Because of the current downturn, consumers are building on trends that were already gathering momentum such as the simplicity movement. Streamlining possessions has been a trend for several years, and the sagging economy now provides incentive to go one step further, with more people selling things on Craigslist and eBay. Ditto the move toward "locavorism," once favored by environmentalists, and now embraced by anyone looking to save on gas. Money management options have also shifted. Some 62 percent of respondents say they have made some kind of sacrifice because of the economy--giving up vacations, buying private-label brands, or driving and dining out less. Only 14 percent say their leisure time has not been affected, 56 percent claim to be more conscious of prices on all products, while 40 percent say they are now shopping around for the best bargain. Consumers are on a financial diet, notes the report, and brands that can tap into these new attitudinal segments will thrive. Cultural Shifts