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Impulsive Consumers: A Dying Breed

12 March 2010 - 19:53 by Mike Price

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The recession did more than hurt our wallets; it may have even changed the way we will be shopping in the foreseeable future. Gone are the days of hasty impulse buys while indulging in some safe shopping online. Now we are all going to be into considered purchases and looking to get the best deals from the online stores from which we buy.

Or at least that is the view of the experts who produced a new piece of research on consumerism and shopping trends: business advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers and retail consultancy Retail Forward. The research was entitled 'The New Consumer Behaviour Paradigm: Permanent or Fleeting?' and looked at post-recession shopping habits. The overall conclusion was that since the recession, there has been a marked change in the way in which consumers go about their safe shopping online. Out is excess buying, while in comes an emphasis on using price comparison sites, actively seeking loyalty schemes and reaping the benefits of promotions such as discount vouchers to benefit from further reductions on specific items.

Also changing are trends in the types of items consumers buy. Consumers are starting to become more in tune with the economic climate and are turning to items which will last a long time, or are more reasonably priced versions of more expensive items. As a result, experts believe that the luxury goods market will suffer, with consumers on the hunt for more versatile, cost effective consumer goods. The researchers found that of the consumers asked, one-fifth prefer to continue to do without when it comes to expensive items.

So how can online retailers react to these apparent changes in the consumer mindset? The report suggests that retailers should make promotions easy to find, whilst ensuring that search facilities on their websites are easy to use and efficient, ensuring that consumers can rapidly find what they want.