STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 25
Everything that drains a consumer's budget is
competition for retailers. And while shopping still
ranks as fairly expendable, there is a small positive
trend. Since 2008, specialty shopping has become
slightly less expendable. Then, 91 percent said it
could go. Now, it's 87 percent. The same slight dip
occurred for department store shopping - down
from 81 percent to 76 percent.
Discount shopping showed the opposite. In 2008
- at the beginning of the recession - 57 percent
called it expendable. Now, it's up to 63 percent.
WHERE CUTS ARE HAPPENING
When asked where consumers had cut back in
the past year, it's clear that dinner and a movie
Where Cuts are Happening
When asked in what areas consumers had cut back,
Fast food restaurant
Fast casual (Panera, etc.) restaurant
(Applebee's, Olive Garden, etc.) restaurant
Fine dining sit-down restaurant
Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, Monthly Consumer Survey,
are no longer the go-to entertainment options. In
fact, the top four areas where cuts have happened
are all in dining: fast food, fast casual, casual and
fine dining. Movie tickets come in at the fifth spot;
it's worth noting that none of the areas provided as
options saw more than half of respondents say they
had cut back in the past year.
Other areas of food - organics (26 percent) and
gourmet (30 percent) - did not see the same level
of declines as the various forms of dining out did.
And that daily cup of gourmet coffee? Just over onefourth - 27 percent - said they had cut back in the
When asked if they had made any changes in their
views over the past six months, all age groups -
18-34, 35-54 and 55-plus - said they had begun to
focus more on what they needed rather than what
they wanted. That topped all three age groups, but
the youngest group was more likely to say so, with
44 percent saying they had made this change.
The second most frequent response - "I
have become more practical and realistic in
my purchases" - also was shared across the
age groups. But the oldest category ranked "I
worry more about political and national security
issues" as their third biggest change. The other
two demographics said they were more likely to
become budget conscious.
When looking at those issues by gender, both
women and men said they had begun to focus
on needs rather than wants - but women were
significantly more likely to say so than men.
Some 47 percent of women said they were needoriented, compared with 32 percent of men. In
fact, fewer than one-third of male respondents
noted any changes in spending in the last six
On first glance, it might seem that the
expendables/untouchables list hasn't changed
much - but it says a lot about what consumers
are willing to spend on and how that is
Sandy Smith grew up working in her family's grocery store,
where the only handheld was a pricemarker with labels.
STORES April 2018 25