Though the economy is on an uptick, recent data suggests consumers are careful not to forget the recession and are subsequently spending modestly at the grocery store.
In addition, brand loyalty among consumers is low, says Deloitte, which recently released the results of its 2014 American Pantry Study.
The survey began in January and included 4,024 respondents. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents were women. Most responders were between 30 and 59 years old while 62 percent said their household was two or smaller. The survey included 30 product categories and 376 brands.
According to Deloitte, the impact of the recession remains a constant in consumer’s minds, and this is now driving their behavior and brand choices.
For example, 79 percent of responders said the country is currently in a recession and 80 percent said the American economy has fundamentally changed.
Deloitte says consumers are getting smarter about where they shop and how they play the shopping game. While those identified the survey spectators (no change in shopping habits, least impacted by the recession) and sacrificial consumers (most likely to have taken income loss, resentful and disappointed about shopping compromises) went down, consumers who use resourcefulness to plan and manage their pantry as well as “super save” at the cash register went up.
In 2013, one of five consumers downgraded brands while 86 percent responded they have set brands they consider and then purchase whichever is on sale.
Knowing these things, Deloitte presented a strategy of where companies should focus. According to Deloitte, companies should embrace consumer resourcefulness and how it has impacted behavior.
In the same way, companies should optimize their portfolios and challenge each store brand’s value proposition from all sides. With the survey pointing out a “category blurring” among consumers considering brands, Deloitte says companies should use this as a strategy for growth.
To succeed in what Deloitte refers to as the “new normal,” the survey says companies should enhance digital engagement and consumer experience during the shopping process, narrowly target impulsive and price-sensitive shoppers, and move from a scattered to focused brand to evoke stronger loyalty.
Companies must still, however, be innovative and need to rethink objectives for new products and product extensions.