Interesting white paper from Accenture entitled, “The Road to Recovery: A Report on Consumer Behavior in the New Economy” (http://bit.ly/qr1sES).
The white paper begins by asserting that consumer behavior typically returns to normal soon after recessions end. However, in extreme cases like the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and possibly the recession we are in right now, the financial crisis may influence the consumer psyche for decades.
For the 15 years leading up to the recession, consumers have had low inflation, high employment levels, stable income and an increased desire to consume; hence, the increase in the level of debt.
In April and May of 2009, Accenture interviewed more than 5,600 customers in 14 countries covering 10 B2C sectors.
Here are the key findings:
- The economic downturn has caused many consumers to switch, or consider switching, suppliers.
- Nearly half are shopping for better deals.
- Only 23% are committed to staying with “tried and true” providers.
- Only 25% are discouraged by the inconvenience of switching suppliers.
- Customer loyalty is low with only 40% “very satisfied” with their providers and only 25% describing themselves as being “very loyal.”
- Twenty-five percent of respondents said they had “no loyalty” to current providers.
- Nearly 70% of global consumers have changed their mix of providers in at least one of the ten industry categories measured in the past six to 12 months.
- One third are thinking about buying fewer products or services from their current providers.
- One in 10 are considering opting out of the category all together.
- Consumers place a premium on “value for money” yet very few feel they are getting it.
- At the same time, only six percent were willing to give up product quality, 17% product options and 11% customer service quality for lower prices. Even in difficult economic times, consumer have high expectations and do not expect to have to give up much to continue to get what they desire.
How have these changes in consumer behavior affected your business?