Marketing to Moms: Surgical Shopping Replaces Impulse Shopping

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Going to the mall ya’ll for a little retail therapy?  Apparently not.  

While the expectations for growth in spending during the 2010 holidays are positive, there is a new type of behavior that has been shaped by the recession and how shoppers spend their money.  You can call it “purposeful shopping” or “surgical shopping” to describe the way that women are attacking their shopping.  Shoppers are purposely visiting fewer stores, shopping online to comparison shop, save money and time, and sticking to their budget and list.

Shoppers today visit an average of three stores during a trip to the mall versus an average of five stores in 2006, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago research group that follows sales and customer counts at more than 70,000 stores.

Stores say that impulse buys are on the decline, with shoppers abandoning purchases before the check out, according to Paco Underhill, author of What Women Want. Certainly the changes in how we shop are most dramatic among low-income shoppers dealing with government assistance, Social Security, and unemployment.  Some discounters and supermarkets have seen shoppers in their stores at midnight, the first possible moment to use their monthly stipends.

Only upper income are showing a slight  improvement in their attitudes to overall spending.  More middle income spenders are turning to online to take advantage of better pricing,

According to an October 2010 report from comScore, six out of every 10 are cutting shopping expenses. The top three strategies for cutting back are reducing gift spending, shopping different retailers and buying different or private label brands.

ComScore reported in their State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in Q32010 that when asked about the importance of coupons and discounts for this holiday season shopping, 84% of shoppers say they are somewhat or very important.  And 31% decide what they are going to buy based on discounts and coupons.  Only 9% never search for coupons.

All of this price consciousness has caused marketers to start Pre Black Friday sales, earlier holiday advertising campaigns, new layaway options, free shipping and free return policies, coupon offers,  and more social media deals.

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