Changes in shopping trends reflect high gas prices

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. Increasing gas prices aren’t just causing Americans to change vacation plans; they’re also causing them to change shopping plans, according to a report Nielsen released Thursday.

The report found that 63 percent of consumers have reduced their spending—an 18 percent increase over last year and a 14 percent increase from six months ago. At the same time, 78 percent are combining shopping trips, with 32 percent using coupons more often and 35 percent buying cheaper brands.

“With gas prices passing the $4 per gallon mark, consumers are altering their driving and spending habits at dramatic levels,” said Todd Hale, Nielsen’s senior vice president for consumer and shopper insights. “While discretionary spending is likely to be a challenge for most low- and middle-income shoppers, even affluent consumers are looking for ways to make their dollars go further.”

Oil prices were $135.25 per barrel in New York trading Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

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