In an economic downturn, consumer behavior is what matters most
Headlines today are dominated by economic woes. We see a constant stream of polls tallying the impacts of inflation, and charts comparing gas and milk prices today to those in the not-so-distant past.
As discussed in a Bloomberg article last week, both businesses and consumers are bracing for the impact of our declining financial environment. Whether or not the outcome earns the label of “recession,” shopper behavior is already reflecting that sober mindset.
People are reaching for generics over trusted brand names. They’re swinging by the gas station more often for less gas, in an effort to spread out the pain at the pump. And many parents are opting out or scaling back when it comes to personal luxuries, choosing to use more of the household budget on the kids.
As marketers, we stay focused on how consumers are actually behaving now, not what they say they’ll do when asked in an online poll. How are they really adapting, to make their pocketbooks cover today’s needs? The most unvarnished truth about what a consumer values most is written on their receipts. They put their money where their heart is.
Even seemingly frivolous purchases can say a lot about consumer mindsets. What are shoppers forced to give up? What are they saving up for, or enjoying less often? The adjustments people are making and how they’re finessing their monthly, weekly and even daily budgets is the true story of what’s happening in the real world.
It’s critical that marketers help our brand partners maneuver through the coming months—with a primary focus on the consumers. We work to stay current on reports that reflect spending patterns, how consumers adjust through economic adversity and which categories will be impacted most. We’re tuned into telling details that can help predict how the coming months with be similar to, and different from, the Great Recession of 2007-2008.
At Unbound, our goal is to be prepared for economic fluctuations. And more importantly, we strive to be in tune with consumer behaviors as they navigate economic hardship. Our experienced team can provide insights and learnings that will be key in stabilizing marketing needs in the coming year for the brands we serve.