STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 24
- the most untouchable non-technology item - is
ranked that way by 41 percent of respondents.
The internet is driving popularity - or at least
untouchability - of other technologies, too. A
mobile phone with text and video options has
come a long way since 2008 in both quality and
expendability. Then, 77 percent of those interviewed
said they could live without it; now it's down to 45
percent. Upgraded mobile devices like smartphones
and iPads also have become more untouchable. In
2008, 88 percent of respondents said they were OK
to cut one out - it's now down to 56 percent.
Streaming services - not even a blip on the radar
in 2008 and 2009 - are becoming increasing more
untouchable. In 2010, 84 percent said they were
expendable; it's now 65 percent.
"From both the entertainment side and shopping,
it's about empowering the consumer with the choice
of how they want to manage their time," Rist says.
"In this day and age, the consumers, in many cases,
are spoiled by choice. They can get entertainment
when they want it, on their schedule, and they can
shop wherever and whenever they have time - even
if that is standing in line at another store."
Spending Changes by Age
When it comes to what is untouchable or
expendable, age has a significant impact. Older
people are more likely to find organic and
gourmet foods more expendable than the two
younger age groups. In fact, they are seven points
higher on the expendability of organic food and
11 points higher on gourmet foods than the 18-34
The youngest group, though, is more likely to
find a haircut and color as expendable: Twothirds of them find those services expendable,
compared with 53 percent of those 55-plus.
The 18-34 year olds also are more likely to
consider charitable contributions something they
can cut; some 73 percent of those 18-34 call it
expendable, compared with 57 percent of those
When it comes to vacations, the older the
respondent, the less expendable. Almost seven
in 10 of those 18-34 said they would cut out
vacations, while 66 percent of those 35-54 and
60 percent of those 55-plus said they found it
Which one of the following best describes your feelings about
chances for a strong economy during the next 6 months?
I focus more on what I NEED rather than what I WANT.
I have become more practical and realistic in my purchases.
I have become more budget conscious.
I worry more about political and national security issues.
Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, Monthly Consumer Survey, December 2017
STORES April 2018
Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, Monthly Consumer Survey,