Consumers prepared to slow spending

Deloitte finds respondents brace for rising prices

NEW YORK — Nearly three-quarters of Americans surveyed by Deloitte said higher prices could slow their spending in the upcoming months.

The newest survey of 1,050 consumers found that 74% of consumers believed higher prices could curb their spending, with 7-out-of-10 (71%) concerned about rising energy prices and nearly half (47%) attributing reduced spending to higher medical costs.

With this, many consumers have turned to mobile and social media connections to help with their buying decisions. For example, 27% of consumers surveyed said stores are offering more value for their money, down from nearly half (45%) of consumers who said so at this time last year. This has prompted about 60% of respondents to search more online to get the best product or price. Among survey respondents who own a Web-enabled smartphone (32%), Deloitte found that:

  • More than 4-out-of-10 consumers (43%) said they have used it specifically in a store to assist in their shopping; and

  • 37% of consumers wanted to use their phones while in a store but couldn't because of connectivity issues.

Deloitte noted that 40% of all consumers surveyed interact with retailers through social networking sites to find out about promotions, browse products or review recommendations.

Deloitte also discovered that the younger generations more likely will turn to their mobile devices and social networks to assist with their shopping:

  • Among survey respondents that are at least 45 years old, 56% said they search more online to find the best product or price;

  • More than one-quarter (29%) of respondents at least 45 years old connected with retailers via social networking sites;

  • One-third (31%) of consumers surveyed under the age of 45 years expected their favorite retailers to provide them with access to information through applications, social media or mobile alerts; and

  • 1-out-of-6 (17%) respondents ages 45 years or older expected retailers to do so.

"The recession has redefined the consumer's relationship with retailers, and social and mobile applications have accelerated this change," said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail sector leader at Deloitte. "Consumers are making more deliberate, informed decisions using a variety of tools and data. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for retailers to enhance both the in-store and online experience — knitting those together in a compelling way to build shopper loyalty."

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