Nielsen finds consumers are less worried about rising gas prices than in 2008

More shoppers take advantage of incentive programs

CHICAGO — Consumers today are a lot less skittish about rising gas prices than they were in 2008, Nielsen reported.

“Unlike 2008, when the average price for regular gas jumped above $4 a gallon, today’s improving job market and strengthening economy are helping consumers cope better than during this recent economic downturn,” wrote Todd Hale, SVP consumer and shopper insights for Nielsen, in a report released Thursday.

Trip compression, however, continues to dominate as a key strategy for 67% of households looking to save on high gas prices. And while this level is down from 2008 levels (78%), it is up four percentage points from last year. Additionally, nearly half of consumers (46%) will continue to seek lower-priced gas stations and eat out less (45%), and more than one-third (36%) said they will shop closer to home to offset high prices at the pump. Coupon clipping also is part of the gas-price offset strategy for 36% of households in 2011 — up four percentage points from 2008.

Also in decline were saving strategies consumers deploy to lower costs: 21% said they are shopping more at supercenters, which is down eight and five percentage points from 2008 and 2010, respectively. Currently, 12% said they are buying larger economy sizes — down four percentage points, compared with 2008 and 2010 — while 10% said they are shopping at warehouse clubs — down three percentage points from 2008 and 2010.

More savvy shoppers are taking advantage of incentive programs linked to grocery spending to buy gas; 28% of consumers said they are using their grocery shopper loyalty cards to save up to 10, 20 and 30 cents on a gallon of gas by redeeming points at participating gas stations. This savings not only is helping to take the pain out of the pump for consumers, but it also is helping to drive traffic for retailers.

To access the report, click here.

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