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The International Council of Shopping Centers just put out a report that highlighted the shopping habits of the folks that are living within our current economic stages (which is all of us really 🙂 )
Here are some things that they found out:

KEY FINDINGS

Financial Situation & Perceptions

  • While the majority of consumers in North America rated their current financial situation as good (35%), fair (40%) or
    excellent (7%) – only 18% rated their financial situation as poor.
  • Consumers are somewhat optimistic regarding the next 12 months. Over 40% believe their financial situation will
    improve over the next 12 months, while 47% believe it will stay the same and only 11% say their situation will get worse.
  • Financial perceptions and expectations are similar between US and Canadian shoppers. Residents of the Midwest and
    South regions tend to report a weaker financial position, while West residents are most optimistic.
  • Consumers age 18-44 tend to be more optimistic than those age 45+.
  • Shopping Habits

  • Over three-fourths of the shoppers report that they have cut back in some way over the past 12 months. Over half
    reported cutting back on fine dining, casual dining, movie theater attendance and salon/spa services. Between 40%-50%
    reported cutting back in most retail categories. The categories least likely to be affected were visits to discount stores
    and grocery stores, and purchases of necessities.
  • Shoppers were somewhat more likely to attribute their change in shopping behavior to precautionary measures and
    concerns in general, than to economic reasons (such as a job loss or wage reduction).
  • Shoppers’ perception of their financial situation had a bigger impact on their shopping behaviors than did their income.
    Among those who rated their financial situation as excellent – only half reported cutting back in the last 12 months.
    In comparison, 75% of those with incomes of $100,000+ reported cutting back.
  • There were also significant differences based on gender and US versus Canadian shoppers. Although men and women
    have similar financial perceptions and expectations, women were much more likely to report that they had cut back on
    their shopping. This may be due to the fact that women are typically responsible for a larger share of the household
    shopping.
  • While US and Canadian shoppers had similar financial perceptions, US shoppers were more reactionary (29% of
    Canadians did not cut back versus 19% of US shoppers). US shoppers were more likely to cite a wage or salary
    reduction as the reason for their cut backs.
  • Canadians are more avid shoppers in general, reporting higher visit frequency and visiting a wider variety of
    shopping venues. The most significant difference is in terms of enclosed malls visitation. Canadians reported visiting
    enclosed malls nearly twice as often as US shoppers.
  • While 80% of consumers reported cutting back over the last 12 months, only 40% report that they expect to increase
    their shopping behavior when the economy improves. The areas with the greatest likelihood of increased use were
    shopping trips in general, department store visits and purchase of discretionary goods.
  • Although US shoppers were more likely to cut back, they were also more likely to anticipate a return to increased
    shopping (44% versus 33% of Canadian shoppers).
  • Loyalty Programs

  • About half of the shoppers report that they belong to a loyalty or rewards program for a retailer or shopping center.
  • Grocery programs are by far the most popular type of retailer program (37%), followed drug store (19%), department
    store (17%), discounter (14%), dining/restaurant (14%) and book store (12%). Only 2% reported that they belong to a
    mall or shopping center program.
  • Canadian shoppers report higher participation in loyalty programs (64% versus 51% for US). This is mainly due to higher
    participation in drug store, department store and movie theater programs.
  • The main reason for belonging to a reward program is because of the special/extra discounts given to reward members
    or the rewards earned based on purchases. Gifts, freebies, advanced notice of sales and special access for members are
    far less important.
  • Special Events

  • Forty percent of shoppers report they have attended a special event or activity at a shopping center within the past 12
    months. An additional 25% indicate that although they did not attend a special event during the past 12 months, they are
    interested in these types of activities and would like their shopping center to offer more options.
  • The most widely attended/popular types of events are farmers markets, craft fairs, and music events/concerts.
  • Over half of the event attendees report that they also shopped or made a food purchase in the mall when they attended
    their last special event (58%).

It is about 30 or so pages long, and the above is detailed out in great extent.

If you would like to read the entire version, click here.

Happy reading!

I will talk about my reaction to it in Part II….

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