A lot of people have opinions—and survey results to support those opinions—about how the consumers we serve now are wildly different than the consumers we served before the recession.
This week, I was sent another such report by Lucy Rice at Comcast Spotlight in Portland. The study groups consumers into four basic types. I’ll offer those categories here, (along with my paraphrased understanding of who those people are).
Steadfast Frugalists (composed of people who demonstrate extraordinary self-discipline and spending restraint; might have considered themselves to be tightwads even before the recession).
Involuntary Penny-Pinchers (this group contains people whose new thrift habits have been imposed by circumstance, not necessarily because they are thrifty by nature).
Pragmatic Spenders (people who are cautious, but who know a good deal when they see it, and are most likely to return to their pre-recession spending patterns).
Apathetic Materialists (folks who were least impacted by the recession, and are therefore the least changed with regard to spending habits and future intentions).
But don’t settle for my interpretation of the terms. Take a look at the free version of the report (the full version is available for a fee): Just click here to nab the report from Decitica.com.
Implications: This is another fascinating report which provides us with yet another group of terms to describe how consumers have been impacted by the recession. What I like about these kinds of reports is that they expand our perspective—especially when informed by research—which continues the dialogue of how consumer trends will be influenced, long-term, by the Great Recession. (I have long held that the recession will be over long before the effects of it.)
At the same time, many of these studies measure consumer sentiment. And since most consumers are also humans, that sentiment can change quickly. (I applaud this particular report for noting pre-recession behaviors, in addition to measures of sentiment.)
As I’ve written in this space previously, the effects of the recession could last a while. Some people could feel the pain for a long while. Others will recover in a shorter while.
But history suggests that neither recessions nor human behavior are permanent.