Consumers continue to reach into their pockets and spend more for transportation, food, alcoholic beverages and their homes. But according to a new report from Mintel they aren’t spending as much as they believe.
The report studied spending habits from 2007 through 2012 and compared those with consumer attitudes about those purchases. Fiona O’Donnell, analyst with Mintel, said that while consumer expenditures are up, Americans retain a cautious approach toward purchasing and avoid conspicuous consumption.
“While conservative spending may be a result of lingering concerns over the health of the economy and a fear of debt — which affects consumers’ shopping behaviors and perception of how they make spending decisions -— it is also likely that consumers’ attitudes have shifted,” she said. O’Donnell said consumers have been conditioned to seek bargains and now take pride in their ability to shave to cut costs and pay lower prices than retail.|
The study found that consumers think they are cutting back the most on alcoholic drinks away from home, followed by entertainment, and dining out. The study found that actual spending increased in each of these categories where consumers said they are spending less.
Consumer spending rose year-on-year to 2012 in the following categories:
Dining out 6%
Alcoholic beverages consumed at home 6%
Alcoholic away from home 6%
Home and garden 5%
Food at home 3%
Personal finance 1.3%
O’Donnell said consumers have come to expect a nearly never-ending cycle of sales, coupon offers, members-only discounts, and lower-priced product alternatives.
“Meanwhile, technological advancements of the past five years and mobile technology’s increasing penetration have made price comparisons and strategic shopping more accessible,” she said. “For these reasons, marketers should not expect a swing back to pre-recession impulse buying habits and spending on credit.”