WSL Strategic Retail How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study

In Reports, What's New, Industry News by Accessories Staff

New York—”Americans no longer live to shop, they shop to live. They have a new set of shopping values that are entrenched, certainly for the near term,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail on the release of the leading retail and marketing strategy firm’s How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study, The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World.

“While the recession is ending and shopper panic is over, shopping apathy is now a way of life,” said Candace Corlett, President of WSL Strategic Retail, adding, “In spite of that, there is opportunity to be had if companies understand the new shopper rules and the white spaces emerging as a result of all this change.”

Among the findings of WSL Strategic Retail’s How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study are:

The End Is Not Near

53% of women feel the recession will last at least another 1 to 2 years.
43% think it will take at least another 3 to 6 years or more.

There Is No Pent-Up Demand – Less Is Really More

63% of shoppers—even the affluent–don’t want to buy as they did before.

Smart Shopping Rules

70% of women agree “It is important to get the lowest price on most things I buy

64% of shoppers ask themselves “Is this a smart use of my money?”
+ 9 points since 2008 and +16 points since 2004.

53% of shoppers will go further to shop in stores where they can save money.
– 5 points from 2008 when gas prices were higher and +10 points since 2004

Fear Still Reigns

47% of women are uncertain about the future, so 52% are staying out of stores where they are tempted to overspend. (The same is true for 1/3 of those earning over $150k.)
32% constantly worry about how much debt they have, and 25% have promised themselves they will never get into such debt again. (While this is not as big an issue for those with incomes over $150k, still 17% and 14% respectively are worried about the level of their debt.)

Premium Brands Are In Peril

50% now choose lower-priced brands, +16 points since 2004.
Only 31% agree that trusted brands are worth paying more.

Many Like To Shop (still); Many Don’t

42% of women enjoy browsing, the same as in 2004 (39%).
38% agree they still love to shop, even though they are buying less of everything.

Demographics Matter Less Now

25% of shoppers with +$150k incomes say their finances were not affected by the recession, however… 1/3 are cutting spending, avoiding places where they are tempted to over-spend, and are content buying less.

50% or more of all age and income groups feel the recession will be around at least 2 more years, and agree it will take them at least 2 more years to recover their financial stability. (One difference is that more of those 55+, whose prime earning years are behind them, have no idea when, or if, their finances will recover.)

“Companies need to recognize that these shopper truths will remain for the foreseeable future, and begin to build strategies to address them,” says Liebmann. “Clearly, smart shoppers need to be convinced why they should spend today, what makes a brand or a store worth it. Do that, and there’s a chance they will.”

WSL Strategic Retail How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study is based on a national online survey of over 1,950 men and women conducted November 3rd to 9th, 2009. WSL Strategic Retail, which this year marks 23 years in business, launched its How America Shops® studies in 1989, to chart the evolution of American consumer shopping habits and attitudes. Founded by Wendy Liebmann, WSL Strategic Retail is a consulting company offering global retailers and manufacturers strategic solutions to marketing problems through the application of proprietary tools, including: up-to-the-minute understanding of shoppers, knowledge of global trending, exclusive access to retail decision makers and ideation techniques. Contact WSL Strategic Retail at 212-924-7780 or visit

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