New research from Mintel reveals that of the 13 key consumer markets in America today, the only two categories for which consumers claim that they are spending more year on year are In-home Food (with a 14 percentage point net difference of consumers claiming to be spending more in this area) and Household Care (2 percentage point difference of consumers claiming to be spending more). Despite this, Mintel’s research finds consumer spend has in fact increased across all evaluated markets, highlighting the fact American consumers remain focused on getting the best deals for their dollars.
Fiona O’Donnell, lifestyles and leisure analyst at Mintel, says: “Although the country officially exited recession nearly four years ago and consumer expenditures are up, Americans retain a cautious approach toward purchasing and avoid conspicuous consumption. While conservative spending may be a result of lingering concerns over the health of the economy and a fear of debt—which affects consumers’ shopping behaviors and perception of how they make spending decisions, it is also likely that consumers’ attitudes have shifted. That is, rather than having pride in purchases and all things ‘new,’ consumers now appear to take pride in their ability to cut costs, find deals, and pay lower prices than retail.”
For the first time, Mintel has conducted an extensive comparative audit of US attitudes and consumer markets to identify exactly which market sectors have been the winners and losers of a changed economy, and how consumers have adjusted their attitudes and behavior as a result. When it comes to where consumers think they are cutting back the most, the Out of Home Alcoholic Drinks Sector appears to have taken the biggest hit with a net difference of 47 percentage points in favor of consumers claiming to be spending less on this area over the past year. Rounding out the top five areas where consumers believe they have reduced spending include: Leisure and Entertainment (-37 percentage points), Vacations (-36 percentage points), Dining Out (-33 percentage points) and Home and Garden (-32 percentage points).
Meanwhile, in terms of actual consumer category spend across the same markets, spend has risen year on year to 2012. Sectors seeing the greatest increase in spending over this period include Transportation (+7% year on year), Dining Out (+6%), In-Home Alcoholic Drinks (+6%), Out of Home Alcoholic Drinks (+6%) and Home and Garden (+5%). Even the lowest increased categories of Personal Finance (+1.4%) and In-home Food (+3%) have seen gains.