More evidence is emerging that this recession has changed everything.

First, a new and rather large survey by IBM shows that Americans at all income levels, despite the tough economic situation, are not sacrificing quality to save money on their food purchases, but – big but – they are more conscientious about the brands they buy, the packaging they buy and the supermarkets they shop to find new ways to save money.

Furthermore, they have confirmed that their new spending strategy “will stick beyond the recession”, IBM said.

In the survey of 4000 American consumers – from those earning less than $20,000 per year to those earning more than $100,000 per year – 72 per cent said they are more focused on quality than price in their grocery shopping trips, and 90-92pc said health/nutrition and value will be of equal or greater importance when the recession ends, IBM said.

Consumers are becoming more flexible about brand and grocery store loyalty but are reluctant to go without coffee, meat and poultry in order to economise, IBM said.

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