Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out consumers’ discipline when shopping for groceries.
Most U.S. households have already made the majority of their purchasing decisions before they even enter a grocery store, and rarely buy on impulse, said market research firm NPD Group.
According to a new NPD report, 94 percent of households prepare a written shopping list before they go shopping, and 72 percent of shoppers never, or only occasionally, buy items not on the list.
“For food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, it’s all about getting on the list,” said Ann Hanson, executive director of product development for NPD and author of the report.
“With so many purchasing decisions being made at home where meals are being planned and shopping lists assembled, it’s important to focus on the consumer at home before they leave for the store.”
As sales of women’s clothing have languished, felled by complaints about a lack of new fashions or fashions that women actually want to wear (who can forget the Jessica Simpson in high-waisted jeans debacle?), men’s apparel has been pointed to as a bright spot in an otherwise weak market.
Well, it appears to be underwear.
According to data released by NPD, the dollar value of apparel sales in the first half of this year was down 7 percent compared with a year ago, with sales of tailored clothing falling the most — down 11.4 percent.
NPD Group Inc, a market research firm, said on Tuesday that it found consumers are starting their back-to-school shopping later, spending less, and shifting away from discretionary items like shoes, clothes, and beauty items. Instead, they are focusing on necessities like school supplies and calculators.
By Dhanya Skariachan
There’s nothing like a snazzy watch or a cool pair of sunglasses to chase away those recession blues.
Despite the economic downturn, the U.S. accessories market has displayed some areas of growth, according to a report from market research firm NPD Group, with watches and sunglasses being bright spots.
That could point to a trend where shoppers are not buying whole outfits, as they try to save money, but are drawn by powerful SALE signs to selectively snap up accessories to accentuate their old wardrobes.
A higher percentage of people doubted the safety of supermarket food in 2008 compared to 2004, even as a larger, but steadier, number continue to have qualms about what they eat at restaurants, according to a study by market research firm NPD Group.
The study’s results come as U.S. consumers cut back on restaurant visits and head to stores to buy items toward cooking more meals at homes to save money.
On a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is “very confident,” general economic perception of consumers fell to 36.7 in February from 38 in October, according to a survey by retail research firm NPD Group. The survey uses online answers from 1,000 people each month.
On the heels of worries over the economy, consumers’ intentions to shop also weakened. NPD’s study showed a more than five-point drop to 35.4 in February, compared to 40.7 in October.
Check out a new survey on back-to-school shopping.
More than one-third of consumers plan to spend less when they shop for school this year, according to a survey by market research firm NPD Group.
Okay, many consumers may have already started, or even finished, their back-to-school shopping. And several back-to-school surveys came out last month from the likes of the National Retail Federation and consulting firm Deloitte that also showed signs consumers were cutting back.
(Actually, NRF broke its survey into two and showed that college kids were cutting back, but that younger students and their parents were planning to spend more. But that’s another story.)
NPD’s Marshal Cohen said the NPD survey is more current and is taken closer to when consumes will actually shop for school.
“On a good year, 25 percent start (shopping) and none have finished at the end of July,” Cohen said. He also noted that consumers have pushed the back-to-school season further and further back, waiting until the weather cools before buying apparel.
So, in this latest survey, NPD shows 35 percent of those surveyed plan to spend less on back to school and 34 percent plan to spend the same as in 2007.
Most plan to shop at discounters, but that percentage dropped to 81 percent from 84 percent. Office supply retailers continue to show more popularity, with 45 percent of those surveyed planning to shop at the Office Depots and Staples of the world, up from 43 percent in 2007.
Footwear stores fell 5 percentage points to 22 percent of consumers saying they were likely to shop at those outlets, with apparel stores down to 16 percent from 20 percent in 2007.
And that old backpack might just have to make it through another year. Only 33 percent of those surveyed plan to buy new school bags, down from 45 percent a year earlier.
According to Standard & Poor’s, which put out its own back-to-school study on Wednesday, about 75 percent of back to school spending occurs in the four weeks leading up to the first day of school, or during August. But many high school and college students wait until school starts before buying clothes so that they can see what is cool first, S&P said.
Also in the basket:
Wal-Mart profit up 17 percent, says consumers pressured
July CPI rise higher than forecast
Borders larger rival unlikely to make a bid (WSJ, subscription required)
According to the latest results of NPD’s Fast Checks Study: Consumers Speak Out On the U.S. Economy, in May, 58 percent of consumers said we are in a recession, up from 55 percent in April.
Respondents to the survey said they are planning to spend less on items like apparel and footwear. With vacation season getting underway, 49 percent of consumers said they plan to cut back on leisure travel.